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Overview

One magpie,
lots of stuff,
and a few friendly mice
show us that less is
more.
This innovative and spare picture book asks the question: When is MORE more than
enough? Can a team of well-intentioned mice ...
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Overview

One magpie,
lots of stuff,
and a few friendly mice
show us that less is
more.
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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher

"Dramatic paintings add depth and foreboding to a lesson about excessive materialism."--Kirkus

"The fable offers a finely drawn, restrained 'less is more' lesson about attachment to things."--Publishers Weekly

"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."--School Library Journal, starred review "This minimally told story delivers a strong antimaterialism message, and kids with a habit of amassing stuff may, like Magpie, recognize their own reflections."--Booklist "The lesson about living simply carries here, gracefully communicated both in the illustrations and the spare text."--Bulletin

"The message here is overt, but the treatment is clever, effective, and commendably understated."--Horn Book

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Only a word or two in large type on the double pages leave room for the illustrations to tell most of this story. A magpie begins with, "Nothing." A mouse brings her, "Something," a colored marble for her nest. More and more items are then collected until there are, "Lots;" then, "Plenty;" until there is, "Way too much." The shocked mouse observes the overflowing collection and declares, "Enough! More than enough." There is a cascade of items burying the magpie. But with the help of the mouse and friends, the pile becomes, "Less and less." Finally the decision is, "Yes, enough." Bird and mouse fly off together. Lies has produced a visual delight, almost photographic images created with acrylic paints, colored pencils, and paper collage. Even the few words of text are made part of the overall visual tale. At first we see a charming mouse offering his bird friend a gift to begin the collection. Then the deluge begins. We wonder where the bird has found the keys, sunglasses, etc. in the amazing close-ups. The message of moderation is clear, but we wonder what awaits the friends as they fly away. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
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)
Sophie Blackall
…a cautionary tale sparingly…and lavishly illustrated…
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547610832
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 389,412
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


I. C. Springman is a small-house person in a McMansion-loving world. She lives as simply as possible with one husband, three dogs, and too many books somewhere down south. More was written for her grandsons, Mason and Jack, with the hope that one day there will be enough for all.

Brian Lies is the author and/or illustrator of more than two dozen children’s books, including his New York Times best-selling bat books (Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and Bats at the Ballgame).  He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, daughter, and two cats, and battles clutter in his garage, basement, and studio.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted July 6, 2013

    A couple of weeks ago, my four-year-old son, completely on his o

    A couple of weeks ago, my four-year-old son, completely on his own, picked out MORE from our local library.  The book looked good, so I let him check it out.  It wasn't until I was reading it to him that evening that I realized that this books was so much MORE than good.  MORE is a concept book -- It teaches quantities, from one item to a hoard to just enough.  The text is clear, simple and basic.  Exactly what is needed.  The artwork, however, is anything but basic.  And it, too, is exactly what is needed. 
    About halfway through this book, I realized we needed to own it.  The illustrations were so staggeringly beautiful that I stopped reading and flipped to the cover to find out who created them -- Brian Lies.  Brian Lies later told me that this book was years in the making, four, I think, and worth every second.  I'm a former children's librarian so I could never desecrate a book by taking it apart and framing the pages, but this book sorely tempts me. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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