Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Gift of Nothing
  • Alternative view 1 of The Gift of Nothing
  • Alternative view 2 of The Gift of Nothing
  • Alternative view 3 of The Gift of Nothing
<Previous >Next

The Gift of Nothing

4.4 36
by Patrick McDonnell

See All Formats & Editions

Mooch the cat desperately wants to find a gift for his friend Earl the dog, but Earl already has everything. "What do you give a guy who has everything?" Mooch wonders. The answer, of course, is nothing!

This simple story features characters from Patrick McDonnell's popular comic strip, Mutts, and has the same depth, charm, and heart that he gives to his daily


Mooch the cat desperately wants to find a gift for his friend Earl the dog, but Earl already has everything. "What do you give a guy who has everything?" Mooch wonders. The answer, of course, is nothing!

This simple story features characters from Patrick McDonnell's popular comic strip, Mutts, and has the same depth, charm, and heart that he gives to his daily readers. With delightfully spare illustrations and text, this book has all the makings of a longtime classic, perfect for gift-giving all year round.

Editorial Reviews

A simple and divine tribute to friendship, this tome from Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell introduces us to Mooch, a cat who wants to give his doggy pal, Earl, a gift. The trouble is, Earl has everything, so Mooch decides to give him the perfect present -- nothing. Confused? Don’t be: Your heart will be as touched as Earl’s in this thoughtful picture book that sails above other friendship books and is an ideal gift for the holidays, birthdays, or other occasions.
Elizabeth Ward
A mellow paean to anti-materialism that should ideally be handed out now, before holiday gift mania really kicks in. Spare drawings done in black, white and a seasonal touch of red reinforce the Zen-inspired idea that less is more.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The stars of the Mutts comic strip, Mooch the cat and his canine friend, Earl, break out of the Sunday funnies into the picture book world. McDonnell applies his spare style, sketching his cheeky characters with only a few deliberate lines. Each has a distinctive feature-Mooch's red ellipse-shaped nose, Earl's Princess Leia ears-that makes them instantly endearing. With plain backgrounds, a limited palette and a small square trim size, the book looks like a blown-up cartoon strip (even the pages have a newspaper-like grittiness). But the story has more depth than the minimalist visuals would suggest. Here, Mooch searches for the perfect gift for Earl. "What do you get someone who has everything?" he wonders. (Earl is the proud owner of a bowl, bed and chewy toy.) Mooch mulls it over (red and black dots and bubbles indicate his deep thinking) and comes up with "Nothing! He would give Earl the gift of nothing." But where to find nothing? Mooch tries shopping (because "Millie came home from the store and said, `There was nothing to buy!' "). But alas, "nothing was not for sale." How he solves the problem is pure delight, reminding young readers that the greatest gift is friendship, not things. Both Mutts fans and newcomers will appreciate McDonnell's clever wordplay and lovable characters, who prove that nothing can be everything. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The problem of Mooch the cat is what to give his best friend, Earl, who has everything. The answer, obviously, is nothing. In his search for this elusive "nothing," Mooch finds that although people say that there is "nothing" on TV, or "nothing" to buy, there really is quite a lot. It is only back home, however, not even looking, that he finds that "nothing." Wrapping it in a big box, since Earl deserves a lot, he takes it to his friend's. Together they can enjoy "nothing, and everything." Playing on just a few words per page, McDonnell manages to convey the elusive concept of "nothing" while including the strong feelings of a well-meaning friend. The black-and-white drawings with touches of pink—and the cat and dog from the artist's comic strip Mutts—are almost lost on the white pages with their minimal backgrounds and spare detail. Mooch is the appealing star, as we find our emotions surprisingly involved. McDonnell's few black strokes combine effectively to illuminate the search as we ponder the philosophy underneath the simple tale. Check the contrasting jacket and cover. 2005, Little Brown and Company, Ages 6 up.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This story features characters from McDonnell's comic strip "Mutts." Mooch (a cat) wants to give Earl (a dog) a gift, but he already has a bowl, a bed, and even a chewy toy. In fact, "he [has] it ALL." In a flash of inspiration, Mooch decides to give him nothing, and sets out to find it. Though the kids say there is "nothing to do," they always seem to be doing something. And even though Millie says "there [is] nothing to buy," Mooch finds plenty in the stores. In the end, he wraps a big box with nothing in it and presents it to his friend. "There's nothing here," says Earl. "Nothing-but me and you," Mooch replies. And that's the point. The text is minimal and the small cartoon drawings are executed in black and white with touches of red and surrounded by plenty of white space. As Mooch ponders over his dilemma, he is engulfed by question marks. The picture of the two friends sitting wrapped paw-in-paw as they enjoy "nothing and everything" is charming. A fine vehicle for a one-on-one discussion of the meaning of friendship and gift-giving.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fresh from the comic-strip panels of Mutts, Mooch the cat doesn't know what to get his best friend Earl the dog on a certain "special day." Earl has everything: dish, chewy toy and a bed. Then inspiration strikes. "Nothing" is the perfect gift for someone with everything . . . but where to find it? Mooch has heard his people say there's "nothing" on TV-but something's always on. He hears there's "nothing" at the stores-but there's plenty of everything. After a moment of Kitty Zen, Mooch wraps up a big empty box and presents it to Earl. " 'There's nothing here,' said Earl. / 'Yesh!' said Mooch. 'Nothing . . . / but me and you.' " And the two of them enjoy nothing-and everything-together. A perfect meditation on gift giving and friendship, this is a great present for the Type-A hoarder in your life. It will do double duty as a conversation starter for older kids at storytime. (Picture book. 5+)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Christmas Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Patrick McDonnell is the creator of The Monsters' Monster, a New York Times bestseller; Me...Jane, a Caldecott Honor Book and a New York Times bestselling picture book biography of Dr. Jane Goodall; and the award-winning picture book Art. He is also the creator of the beloved, internationally syndicated comic strip Mutts, which features the characters that star in five of his previous picture books including Wag!, The Gift of Nothing, Just Like Heaven, Hug Time, and South.

Patrick sits on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States and has won numerous awards for both Mutts and his animal welfare work. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Karen; their formerly feral cat, Not Ootie; and their adopted terrier, Amelie.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Gift of Nothing 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was browsing through the children's book to find new additions for my classroom library. The Gift of Nothing caught my attention and after reading it.... I am in love. I purchased one copy for each of my adult siblings. It has such a wonderful message. Loved it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for three different people and I still have to go back and buy myself one. The first day that I purchased it I had six people read it and they all loved it and wanted to know where I got it. A easy, fun read. It's a children's' book, but I as well as other adults really enjoy it. Cute, fun, and entertaining. You'll be able to relate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story with a life lesson to treasure. Excellent for the child in all of us and a great gift for that person you love and has everything
Book_loving_mom_of_3 More than 1 year ago
Tired of retellings of Rudolph, the little drummer boy, and Frosty? This is a simple story that has a good lesson and an amusing play on words. It won't be your only Christmas book, but it's a great addition. (Other recommendations: Auntie Claus and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a fantastic gift and/or friendly reminder of the important things in life that have nothing to do with money and material things, but everything to do with true friendship and love. It is a book for all ages and an absolutely fantastic gift!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kristie I. for Readers Favorite &ldquo;The Gift of Nothing&rdquo; written by Patrick McDonnell is a thought-provoking story for both children and adults alike and is now shared in an audio version that will be enjoyed by all! Mooch wants to get Earl a present for his birthday; however, Earl has everything he needs and does not need anything. Mooch hears Millie saying there was nothing to buy at the store, so Mooch sets out to the store and sees so many things, yet does not buy anything. Mooch decides to give Earl just that, nothing! When Earl opens his present he sees nothing and he and Mooch spend time together, just being together and doing nothing, which is possibly the best gift. How many times do we hear and do we ourselves say that there is nothing to do, or nothing to buy when really there are millions of things to do and buy, but they just do not appeal to us as they are not &ldquo;special&rdquo; enough or so similar to what we already have or do? This book illustrates just that and reminds the reader (and listener) to take a minute and think about what we really do have and to appreciate the things in life that do not cost money and are the most important but often overlooked, such as the gift of time. This would be a good book to use with children to teach them that there are things more valuable than money and also encourage them to be creative and do a kind act instead of giving material things.
HighPlainsGirl More than 1 year ago
My 102 year old friend was given this book for her birthday in April I thought it was delightful. My husband agreed! What is better than the gift of yourself and your time.
imamom More than 1 year ago
This book is heartwarming for people of all ages. Simple to read, cute illustrations, and a message at the end that gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling which is sure to bring on a smile. It is the perfect gift for that person who has everything, and doesn't really need anything.
Mouse15 More than 1 year ago
What can I say it's done by Patrick McDonnell love his books and the characters. Check out his other books you will love them !!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book with a heart warming story of two friends, and the true story of friendship. If you love the comic strip 'Mutts' then this is a must have book for anyone of any age!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kijn. Kikh ..kkijujm toiuuj. Njjn
gorriema More than 1 year ago
A child's introduction to philosophy: the understanding that the word "nothing" can also be seen as "no thing"; that spending time together quietly listening to the tree frogs and crickets is The Gift of Nothing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tchrreader More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for people of many ages. My children received this book as a gift and i am glad they did. In a society that is so very materialistic, this is a great book to bring people back to reality. The Gift of Nothing is a true gift for all and it should be read in every household. The illustrations are adorable and it is a cute book with little words but a big message. I highly recommend this book, you will fall in love with the illustrations that are unique.
bookstorebandit More than 1 year ago
Bought this for my nine year old niece. I have never read the book before, myself, but from reading the reviews it seemed like a good choice and maybe something that might teach a deeper lesson compared to other books. I'm sure she will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago