Tuesday, May 1, 2012


by I.C. Springman
illustrated by Brian Lies
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
March 6, 2012 | $16.99 | reviewed from galleys

This gorgeous picturebook begins on the title page with a magpie and a mouse hanging out in a tree having a look down to see what might be around. Soon, the magpie has gone from having "nothing" to having "something" aided by the clever mouse. Quickly, though, that turns into "a few" and then into "several" and soon enough, many nests are piled high with treasures. Finally, when the piles of new belongings are "more than enough," the branch breaks and the magpie is buried beneath his finds. With the help of a whole gang of mice, he's rescued and learns a valuable lesson: that "less and less" or "not much at all" might just be "enough." The art is stunning in Lies's signature style which can also been seen in his Bats books (Bats at the Library, 2008; Bats at the Ballgame, 2010, etc). The detail in each item the magpie brings home will allow an observant child to study the intricate details and pick out what might catch their eye. Tiny details like the magpie's reflection in a mirror and the tracking tag around his leg, which bears the number 3.14159 ensures this book has a little something for everyone, just like the magpie's great pile. Read aloud with your kids (or your nieces and nephews) and decide together whether more is better, or, if selected carefully, enough might be just fine.

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