Review: Only One

If you’re looking for a book for Earth Day next week, I’ve got the perfect selection for you today. Only One by Deborah Hopkinson and Chuck Groenink is a wonderful nonfiction picture book that introduces young readers to our planet and the precious life that can be found on Earth.

Title: Only One
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: Chuck Groenink
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Published: April 5, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Following our narrator, a young girl, readers learn about the universe, the galaxy, and, of course, our planet. Starting with a BIG BANG and working her way all the way down to the microscopic life here on earth, she simply introduces lots of complex ideas in a way young readers can easily digest. Our narrator also reminds us that there is only one. One universe, one galaxy, and one planet that we inhabit. This is a great book to open conversations about the importance of caring for our family and the many ways we can do that.

The backmatter has lots of resources for further learning, including NASA Climate Kids, where parents and educators can find a variety of activities for different age groups to inspire the next generation to take care of our one and only Earth.

The illustrations by Chuck Groenink are absolutely delightful. I loved the warm colors throughout, but I especially appreciated the way the concepts become more tangible as the focus narrows to earth. The universe and galaxy are presented as ideas the children dream about, and then suddenly they are on Earth in nature, reminded that our planet is a part of something bigger. I thought it was a really lovely way to make the concepts easier to process for young readers.

Only One is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Random House Children’s Books and Blue Slip Media for sharing Only One with me! I can’t wait to share it with my little one on Earth Day.

About the Author:

Deborah Hopkinson is the author of many highly acclaimed picture books, including A Letter to My Teacher, which received two starred reviews, and the modern classic Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, which the New York Times called “inspiring.” Her other books include Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book; and Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book. She lives in Oregon with her family. Visit her at

About the Illustrator:

Chuck Groenink is the illustrator of 16 Words by Lisa Rogers, which the New York Times described as “warm and cozy,” as well as Hank’s Big Day by Evan Kuhlman, which received three starred reviews. His other picture books include William’s Winter Nap by Linda Ashman, which PW described “as adorable as it gets” in a starred review. Chuck graduated from the Artez Institute of Visual Arts in 2004. Visit him on the web at or on Twitter at @ChuckGroenink.

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