More, by I.C. Springman, with illustrations by Brian Lies, is a beauty, one of those books that you sigh over when you finish reading it for the first time. It’s a simple but stunning exploration of what can happen when all we want is more and more and more.
Magpie starts with nothing, but that doesn’t last for long. Mouse gives him a marble, and now he has something. It doesn’t stop there; he just keeps on collecting. He finds lego pieces, lost keys, broken necklaces, dice, scraps of paper, bits and bobs. He moves from “something”, to “several”, to “more”, to “lots”, and on, all the way to “way too much.” Luckily, he has some mouse friends to help him deal with his crazy hoard. They work together until there is less, and less, and less, and finally “not much at all.” It turns out, that this is “enough.”
When I shared this one with a colleague, he said, “That idea is genius.” I have to agree. The fact that Springman gets to such a big idea with so few words is in perfect keeping with the theme of her text. The more stuff you get, the more you seem to want and need. It’s hard for everyone – grown ups and kids – to break that cycle. I think this book offers a good launching point to start talking with children about over-consumption and materialism, and their implications. Plus, it’s very compelling from a visual standpoint. Brian Lies’ detailed illustrations are striking and dramatic.
A picture book that makes children think about the impact of their choices, and what’s really important, belongs on shelves everywhere.
More is published by Houghton Mifflin.