by ; illustrated by Lies, Brian
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012
What People Are Saying
From Our Follett Early Learning Experts
A team of well-intentioned mice saves a friend from hoarding too much stuff.
From the Publisher
lots of stuff,
and a few friendly mice
show us that less is
This innovative and spare picture book asks the question: When is MORE more than
enough? Can a team of well-intentioned mice save their friend from hoarding too
much stuff? With breathtaking illustrations from the award-winning Brian Lies, this
book about conservation wraps an important message in a beautiful package.
Booklist (April 15, 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 16))
Preschool-Grade 3. After a mouse gives Magpie a marble, the bird goes from having nothing to having something—and the problem with having something is that it often leads to wanting “more and more and more.” Magpie’s collected treasures grow out of control, and his nest eventually buckles under their weight, trapping him beneath the load. A few mice dig him out from under, until all that’s left are three little objects, which, as it turns out, are “enough.” Springman’s text is effectively comprised almost entirely of quantity words (“Lots. Plenty. Much too much”), and Lies’ (Bats at the Library, 2008) realistic acrylic-paint and colored-pencil illustrations are particularly impressive in detailed close-ups of the animals. One powerful image depicts Magpie’s greedy, glinty eye reflected back in a mirror he’s acquired. (The meaning behind Magpie’s leg-band is up for grabs, though.) This minimalist story delivers a strong antimaterialism message, and kids with a habit of amassing stuff may, like Magpie, recognize their own reflections.
Horn Book starred (Fall 2012)
A friendly mouse helps a magpie out when it begins to collect way too many objects. The spare text makes each of its twenty-seven words work as it builds up to its crescendo of stuff and back again, while realistic acrylics keep viewers' attentions focused on the characters and clutter. The message here is overt, but the treatment is clever, effective, and commendably understated.
Kirkus Reviews (January 15, 2012)
Dramatic paintings add depth and foreboding to a lesson about excessive materialism. Magpies are famous for collecting shiny objects, and this protagonist is a classic exemplar. At first, he stands in the bottom-right corner of a blank spread, downcast. Composition and expression display his isolated melancholy; the text murmurs, "Nothing." A mouse gives him a marble, which sets the bird to collecting objects and building many nests to hold them. Text remains sparse: "A few, / several, // more / and more and more. // Lots." The plot is simple: The collected objects become so numerous that a nest crashes to the ground, burying the magpie. (Mice unbury him; he's uninjured.) The unsurprising moral is that two or three objects are, "Yes, enough" (though the magpie still needs the mouse's persuasion to accept that lesson). Lies contrasts pale, faintly patterned backgrounds of handmade paper with forceful close-ups in acrylic and colored pencil. Large, dark areas inside the nests show stolen items--Lego, penny, toothbrush, binky, spoon--as identifiable but no longer shiny, emphasizing Springman's message. The illustration of the crash is downright scary. This magpie's leg-band goes unexplained; does it symbolize entrapment, civilization or the infinite danger (the numbers echo Pi) of hoarding? Young readers not overwhelmed by the visual intensity will chant the minimal text; older ones will note questions about accumulation, materialism, friendship--and how to decide what's meaningful. (Picture book. 3-8)
Library Media Connection (October 2012)
Magpies are well known in the bird world as collectors, and this sparsely worded story illustrates what happens when Nothing becomes Way Too Much. Poor Magpie has nothing until Mouse brings a marble, and the collecting begins. Finally, Magpie collects so much that the weight of the nest is too much, breaking the limb, and Magpie ends up buried under the weight of his collection. The mice dig him out, and Magpie selects just Enough of his treasures to keep. This is beautifully illustrated; the text is hand-lettered, with acrylic paint and colored pencil on handmade paper, which gives a wonderful texture to the background. Children will enjoy naming the objects Magpie brings to his nest, and anticipating what will happen as he keeps bringing more and more. Less is definitely more, and this title is a great way to teach that lesson. Tracy A Fitzwater, Librarian, Crescent School District, Joyce, Washington. RECOMMENDED
Publishers Weekly (January 9, 2012)
Lies's (Bats at the Ballgame) marvelously lifelike paintings of a kleptomaniac magpie and a mouse with superior judgment do most of the storytelling in a story anchored on debut author Springman's string of quantity words ("Lots. Plenty. A bit much"). The first spread shows a single word at left ("Nothing"), a long expanse of blank backdrop, and a despondent magpie all alone at the far right. A mouse offers a glass marble to the delighted magpie: "Something." A Lego block makes "a few," and a coin makes "several"; the magpie's three treasures are shown in its nest under the bird's dramatically enlarged feet. In no time, the magpie assembles mounds of junk: "Way too much." The mouse calls a halt-"Enough!"-as the magpie is buried under its own treasure. The fable offers a finely drawn, restrained "less is more" lesson about attachment to things (so finely drawn, in fact, that some children with overflowing toy boxes may not recognize themselves). Lies's striking paintings of the magpie's flashy wings, swooping tail, and gleaming eyes-as good as any field guide's-are the story's real treasures. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (March 1, 2012)
PreS-Gr 3-Told in a spare 27 words, this visual tale features an inauspicious magpie, a corvid well known for its intelligence and acquisitiveness. The three-part tale can be summarized as "more.less.enough." The magpie and a mouse start with nothing, find a few shiny, cast-off items, and hustle them to their nests. Then suddenly, and not surprisingly, their nests are bursting with stuff: keys, coins, LEGOs, marbles, combs, necklaces, Tinkertoys, padlocks, and more. Young readers will find themselves in a Waldo world of things to point to and identify. The paintings are highly realistic and up close, in acrylic on handmade paper, and the text is hand lettered, which brings home its ecological message. The tide turns on one of the darkest-hued pages, when the magpie, famously reflected in a mirror, recognizes that enough is enough. But it is too late, and here lies the message. This is a timely, clearly needed fable for contemporary society as it tries to unravel itself from excessive materialism. Ideal for discussions about reducing consumption.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
- Pub. Date: March 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover 34 p. : col. ill. ; 24 x 29 cm.
- Age Range: PreK - Grade 3 (4-8 yrs.)
- Reading Level: 0.5 (What’s this?)
- ISBN-10: 0-547-61083-1
- ISBN-13: 978-0-547-61083-2
- Follett Number: 0170PX5
- Language: English