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Just Enough And Not Too Much

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A tribute to collectors everywhere and to the most important thing to have in one's home: friends.

For cheerful Simon the Fiddler, there's no such thing as too much. If he hugs one teddy bear, then he will surely love three bears three times more. And if he has four chairs, then a fifth and sixth will give him that many more places to sit. It's not until his possessions crowd him out of his cottage that he realizes what will really make him ...

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Overview


A tribute to collectors everywhere and to the most important thing to have in one's home: friends.

For cheerful Simon the Fiddler, there's no such thing as too much. If he hugs one teddy bear, then he will surely love three bears three times more. And if he has four chairs, then a fifth and sixth will give him that many more places to sit. It's not until his possessions crowd him out of his cottage that he realizes what will really make him happy -- and it's not something that can be measured in numbers.
Kaethe Zemach's gladdening new picture book is a gentle fable about getting and giving, with a lesson that's "just enough and not too much."

Simon the fiddler decides he needs more--more chairs, more hats, more stuffed animals--until he discovers that his house is too full and must think of a way to get back to having just enough.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Publishers Weekly
(December 22, 2003; 0-439-37724-2)

Zemach (The Character in the Book) applies her cozy, colorful illustrations to this tale of a fiddler whose short bout with greed wakes him to the meaning of true contentment. Simon is "perfectly happy" keeping house, spending time with friends and playing his fiddle until he abruptly decides one day he doesn't have enough. "I want more!" he exclaims from atop his sole wooden chair, the shout arching over his head in large, blue typeface. While no reason is given for this sudden change of heart, readers will enjoy the ensuing repetitive narrative alongside animated vignettes of him stockpiling more stuff. "So, Simon got another chair. And another, and another, and then a few more." The pattern continues with hats and stuffed animals, as warm-hued watercolor and gouache illustrations depict the increasingly crowded abode. At once modest in their composition and involved in their variety of colors, patterns and textures (e.g., a blowzy floral motif on a chair, a cotton-candy pink braided rug), Zemach's light and bright paintings-complete with rosy-cheeked characters-maintain a cheerful mood. Realizing his added possessions fail to deliver lasting happiness as they clutter his simple lifestyle, Simon throws a party and sends guests home with the extraneous belongings. A good read to temper a case of the "Gimmees." Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Booklist
(November 1, 2003; 0-439-37724-2)

PreS-Gr. 2. Here's a wonderful message wrapped in a honey of a tale. Simon the fiddler lives in a cozy house with everything he needs: a chair, a bed, clothes, a soft hat, a stuffed animal, good friends, and a fiddle. He's happy until the day he thinks, I want more! Uh-oh. Soon there are chairs and hats and animals everywhere he looks. The house is no longer comfortable; it's crowded. And taking care of his stuff takes Simon away from his fiddle and his pals. Then he has an idea: a party where everyone comes and sits on his chairs and, afterward, takes one home, along with a hat and a toy animal. Zemach, daughter of Margot and Herve, provides a straightforward and effective telling illustrated by watercolor-and-gouache artwork that moves from simple to swarming to simple once more as Simon learns that having everything is worth nothing when it keeps you from the things and people you love. Parents and teachers will find plenty here to start a discussion. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal
(October 1, 2003; 0-439-37724-2)

PreS-Gr 3-Simon the Fiddler has a very good life. He lives in a cozy little house; sleeps in a comfy bed; and has plenty to eat, a soft hat to wear, good friends, and a beautiful fiddle. One day, he decides, "I want more!" So Simon buys a new chair, and then another, and another. But filling his home with furniture doesn't seem to satisfy his urge, so the fellow acquires an array of hats, and then, a menagerie of toy animals. For awhile, he enjoys his crowded little house, but when he can no longer move around comfortably, he discovers that he misses his simple life. So he bakes a cake, sets his new chairs around a long table, adds hats and toy animals, and invites his friends over for a party. Afterward, he asks everyone to take a chair, hat, and toy home. Finally, Simon is able to relax and enjoy his simple life once more. Zemach's keen sense of color and shape and use of white space adds to the homey feel of this book. The rich watercolor-and-gouache illustrations, many emphasizing rounded forms, are full of movement and joy. Readers will breathe a sigh of relief with Simon at the story's end. Perfect for storyhours or individual readings.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly
Zemach (The Character in the Book) applies her cozy, colorful illustrations to this tale of a fiddler whose short bout with greed wakes him to the meaning of true contentment. Simon is "perfectly happy" keeping house, spending time with friends and playing his fiddle until he abruptly decides one day he doesn't have enough. "I want more!" he exclaims from atop his sole wooden chair, the shout arching over his head in large, blue typeface. While no reason is given for this sudden change of heart, readers will enjoy the ensuing repetitive narrative alongside animated vignettes of him stockpiling more stuff. "So, Simon got another chair. And another, and another, and then a few more." The pattern continues with hats and stuffed animals, as warm-hued watercolor and gouache illustrations depict the increasingly crowded abode. At once modest in their composition and involved in their variety of colors, patterns and textures (e.g., a blowzy floral motif on a chair, a cotton-candy pink braided rug), Zemach's light and bright paintings-complete with rosy-cheeked characters-maintain a cheerful mood. Realizing his added possessions fail to deliver lasting happiness as they clutter his simple lifestyle, Simon throws a party and sends guests home with the extraneous belongings. A good read to temper a case of the "Gimmees." Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Simon the fiddler is perfectly happy until the day he decides he wants more! He starts by obsessedly collecting chairs, one after another. Then it is hats, then toy animals. He then realizes that his house has become very crowded and his life is no longer simple. Missing his friends and his old life, he plans a wonderful party. When it is over, he has his friends take the chairs, hats, and animals with them. He has realized that "just enough and not too much" is the key to happiness. The simple tale, told in lighthearted, loosely brushed watercolor and gouache, is created by an imagination that fills the pages with attractive varieties of the items Simon is accumulating. We watch the house fill up until a double-page scene depicts the chaos of the final clutter. The message is a bit didactic, but the pictures create a delightful accompaniment. 2003, Arthur A Levine Books/Scholastic Press, Ages 4 to 8.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Simon the Fiddler has a very good life. He lives in a cozy little house; sleeps in a comfy bed; and has plenty to eat, a soft hat to wear, good friends, and a beautiful fiddle. One day, he decides, "I want more!" So Simon buys a new chair, and then another, and another. But filling his home with furniture doesn't seem to satisfy his urge, so the fellow acquires an array of hats, and then, a menagerie of toy animals. For awhile, he enjoys his crowded little house, but when he can no longer move around comfortably, he discovers that he misses his simple life. So he bakes a cake, sets his new chairs around a long table, adds hats and toy animals, and invites his friends over for a party. Afterward, he asks everyone to take a chair, hat, and toy home. Finally, Simon is able to relax and enjoy his simple life once more. Zemach's keen sense of color and shape and use of white space adds to the homey feel of this book. The rich watercolor-and-gouache illustrations, many emphasizing rounded forms, are full of movement and joy. Readers will breathe a sigh of relief with Simon at the story's end. Perfect for storyhours or individual readings.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Simon the Fiddler goes on a bender in Zemach's folksy parable. In the beginning, he has everything he needs, including "a bed to sleep in, food to eat, clothes to wear . . . and good friends." But when he decides he must have more, he spins out of control, filling his home with an ever-expanding collection of chairs, hats, and toy animals. Thankfully, Simon eventually learns to apply a little self-control; he even comes up with a clever-and generous-way to purge the excess. Zemach's uncluttered writing and engaging watercolors, presented as full-bleed spreads, framed vignettes, and more, get the message across. She delivers an important lesson here, from which young readers and not a few adults will benefit. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439377249
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Kaethe Zemach is the oldest sister in the Zemach family. Her parents, Margot and Harve Zemach, are the team behind the Caldecott Medal-winning DUFFY AND THE DEVIL. When she was fourteen, Kaethe collaborated with them on THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGGIE. Other titles include JUST ENOUGH AND NOT TOO MUCH and EATING UP GLADYS. Kaethe’s work was recently featured in a special exhibition at the Eric Carle Museum.
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