Nothing

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Inkpen's (Penguin Small; Kipper) familiar, unadorned watercolors animate this simple and fetching story, which opens as a family, anticipating their baby's arrival, prepares to move into a bigger house around the corner: "The cat has gone missing, but everything else is packed up and ready to go." Well, not quite everything. In the attic, a tattered, one-eared stuffed animal lies beneath a pile of rugs. "Oh, it's nothing," says a voice, and the abandoned creature assumes that Nothing is his name. He springs to life and encounters several animals who jog his memory ("I used to have ears and whiskers!... I'm sure of it," thinks Nothing, after meeting a fox). Then when the missing family cat brings the perplexed fellow home, Grandpa produces a photo of himself as an infant hugging a stuffed feline named Little Tobyaka Nothing. A foldout spread reveals the toy's metamorphosis into a handsome cat, replete with fresh stripes, two ears, whiskers and an enormous smile. An endearing ending (Grandpa places the restored toy in the crib of the new baby, who immediately begins sucking on its ear) and some winsome spot art help recommend this comforting caper as a bedtime read-aloud for preschoolers. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Linda Uhlenkott
How does memory work? That is the guiding force for this story. When the family moves, Nothing (who remembers nothing about himself, including his name) is left behind as something for the next family. Meeting a mouse, a fox, a toad, and finally, a tabby cat, Nothing remembers the bits and pieces of himself, until he is finally reunited with his family. This picture book's elegantly simple illustrations undergird the story told by the text, making this an ideal book for the beginning reader, especially one who requires the additional support of pictures.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2A new baby is on the way and the family is moving to a bigger house. In the attic, the movers uncover an old stuffed toy. The little abandoned creature, newly conscious after having been squashed and forgotten for years, hears the men say, on catching sight of him, "Oh, it's nothing" and concludes that Nothing must be his name. As he wanders about trying to figure out where he belongs, Nothing meets various animals, and memories of his past begin to return in snatches. Eventually, a cat befriends him and carries him to the new house. Grandpa recognizes the toy as one of his childhood favorites and all ends happily. This is a charming tale in the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit. The watercolor illustrations are full of interesting perspectives. A foldout page that depicts Nothing's transformation ("with the help of a good wash, some scraps of material...and some thread") back into a little cloth tabby cat is particularly endearing. The spirited prose moves along at a lively pace. However, the ending is quite complicated and may prove confusing to the young children for whom this book is intended. Because of the complex denouement, this fetching picture book is more suitable for one-to-one than group sharing.Sue Norris, Rye Free Reading Room, NY
Kirkus Reviews
In this delightful tale from Inkpen (Wibbly Pig Makes Pictures, 1995, etc.), the circle goes unbroken when a ratty and abandoned stuffed toy recalls its own true self. It is moving day. Up in the attic, a toy that had been lost is found and lost again: "What have we got here?" asks one of the movers. "Oh, it's nothing," replies the other. "So that's my name," thinks the faded and tattered little thing. "Nothing." Cautioned by a mouse that the "New People" will probably throw him away, Nothing embarks on a reluctant journey of self-discovery. Seeing the tail on the mouse reminds him that he may have had one. The whiskers on a fox are familiar, as are the stripes on a frog in the garden lily pond. A cat takes Nothing home, where he encounters Grandpa, who holds the key to the mystery. The handsome illustrations, composed for maximum emotional impact, combine with a clever book design—the first page of the story appears before the title page, and Nothing's transformation back to a feline state takes place in a gatefold. Readers searching for deep meanings will find plenty to ponder, especially in the perfect balance between the profoundness of Nothing's mission and the humor of the text. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531300763
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 9.95 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2001

    This is a beautiful book, on many levels.

    I keep buying this book for children, and having it nicked by adults. The illustrations are finely done; the story is touching and well-crafted; the book is a true deli

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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