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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - ONLY ONE CLUB
The Only One Club
The Only One Club
written by Jane Naliboff
illustrated by Jeff Hopkins
Flashlight Press
ISBN: 0-972-92253-9
Ages 4-8

It’s scary feeling different . . . not monster scary, or falling out of bed scary. Not darn! I forgot my homework scary either. Feeling different can set you apart . . . maybe the rest of the kids won’t like you kind-of-scary or they’ll make fun of you kind-of-scary. But in The Only One Club, Jennifer uses her “different-ness” to her advantage and soon all of her classmates are looking for ways to show how they are different, too.

Together, author, Jane Nabiloff and illustrator, Jeff Hopkins provide a fun and comical vehicle for young readers to realize and acknowledge the differences of others, while they are encouraged to examine their own differences. Look at Niki and Nina. They are the “only” identical twins in Jennifer’s first grade . . . and no one has a gazillion freckles like Jonah McBride! Then, don’t forget Steven Whittier and his humongous teeth! Now, who can match that? Each of us is different, each in his or her own way, and so, in so many aspects, we all belong to an “only one club.” So, take a look at your own self and join a club, even if it is an Only One Club.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“The Only One Club was a great idea because everyone could be in it,” said Anya. “Unlike other clubs where only certain people can be in them.”

“Some clubs are only for boys,” said Pritka. “Or girls,” she added.

“I don’t think a girl would want to join a boy’s club,” said Jake,” Or a boy would want to join a girl’s club,” he added as an afterthought.

Sarit nodded. “I agree with Jake,” she said.

“Or you might have to know somebody,” said Jake. “Or you could be left out and that wouldn’t really feel good.”

“Yeah,” said Ethan. “If someone doesn’t let someone else join, it could hurt their feelings.”

“But, everybody could be in the Only One Club,” said Anya, “because everybody was the only one of something.”

“It shows that everyone is different. No one is exactly alike,” said Jake.

“Yeah, like . . . I’m the only one in my grade that is Indian,” said Pritka.

“I’m the only one who is Jewish and was born in Alabama,” said Anya.

“And, I’m the only one in my class who has glasses,” said Sarit, “and braids.”

“Well, if there was a real Only One Club, I’d be in it, too,” said Ethan, “Because I’m the only one in my class who can name all of the presidents in order from one to forty three!”

Jake looked like he had a secret and then he said, “I know something that we are ALL the only one of . . . we’re the only KIDDLE CRITers.”

“And we’ll be the only KIDDLE CRITers until we graduate,” said Ethan proudly. Everyone laughed.

“I think that this book is special for people with different qualities,” said Pritka.

”Because, everybody has a unique quality,” said Ethan, “You just have to find it out.”

“I think that Jennifer was unique,” said Becky, “because she was the only one who was Jewish.”

“I think that Jennifer was really creative to make a club like that, said Jake.

“She was really happy that she had a club,” said Philippe.

“Well, Jennifer realized that everyone is the only one of something, said Pritka.

“Yeah! Even identical twins wouldn’t think the same,” said Ethan. “And their attitudes might not be the same, either.”

“Yeah, right!” said Pritka. “Fingerprints, skin color – nothing is the same. Everyone’s different and no two people will ever be the same – even teachers.”

”Well I think the whole world could be in the Only One Club,” said Philippe, “because every single person is different.”


LET’S GO CLUBBING: Language Arts/Social Studies

There are drama clubs and card clubs. There are book clubs and knitting clubs. There are clubs for boys and clubs for girls, but if you can’t find a club that you fit into . . . make your own.
Have each child write one thing about himself that he feels is different from others in his class. It may be “color of eyes, hair, or skin,” “tallness or shortness,” “always wears a barrette or never wears a barrette,” “eats tuna fish every day for lunch.” or, or, or . . .. The possibilities are endless.
The idea is for each child to really think about himself in relation to the other children in his class. Then list each contribution on a large chart tablet. Encourage the children to think up as many different possibilities as they can so that no idea is the same and each child can form their “own” ONLY ONE CLUB. The children will be surprised at how many unique qualities their classmates have . . . and their teacher, too. Okay, I’ll start. I am the only one in my class who has 35 frogs in my writing office at home. Ribbet! Ribbet!

Then just like Jennifer have the children make a badge, but this time have them write their special quality on their badge.


The kids in Mrs. Matthew’s class made holiday decorations . . . stars and Christmas trees, gingerbread cutouts, dreidels and menorahs.

People around the world celebrate many different kinds of holidays in the winter season.
Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukkah are some of the more familiar ones. Each of these holidays is a time for celebration. Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ, while Hanukkah, called the festival of the lights, celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians many, many years ago. Kwanza, which means “first fruits,” is celebrated to honor family roots and traditions. As with any holiday, food, fun, and decorations are in abundance.

Each of these holidays, in some way, celebrates with a candle. Below are web sites where you can find the patterns for the candles.

Christmas Candle

Hanukkah Menorah

Kwanza Kinara

There are many holidays to warm you on those long, cold, winter days and nights. You can celebrate Black History Month, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day, New Year’s Day and even Chinese New Year. So snuggle in and check the website below for some wintertime activities.

Kids Domain – Winter Fun

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Cool Clubs for Kids
Kidsreads.com – Book Clubs


Horace and Morris But Mostly Dolores by James Howe, illustrated by Amy Walrod
The Dangerous Snake and Reptile Club written and illustrated by Daniel San Souci
No Room For Francie written by Maryann Macdonald, illustrated by Eileen Christelow
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
No content may be copied or reproduced in any way without the express permission of the creator.
Clip Art courtesy of GraphicGarden.com

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