One of the most popular clichés in economics is "there's no such thing as a free lunch," with the implication that you cannot get something for nothing. Jon Agee's clever book turns this notion upside down when the richest lady in town walks into Otis's empty antiques shop at closing time and buys nothing for something. Amazed that this wealthy woman who has everything would pay $300 for nothing, the neighboring merchants quickly change their signs and their sales pitches - I have the finest in nothing! I sell nothing from China! - and the odd purchase sets off a buying craze. Nothing is ingenious in the way it parodies herd behavior in consumer shopping patterns at a level that young children will understand and enjoy.
I ordered this book because we read "The Retired Kid" at the library and we loved it. I knew nothing about this book when I ordered it, but I thought I would give it a try. It is great. Love the story and love the pictures. My 8 year old and I keep telling my husband that we loved the book, then he asks, what's it about, and we say NOTHING. It's a cute book. One we definitely want to keep in our collection. I have ordered two more Jon Agee books and can't wait to read those too!
I don't think I've ever read a book by Jon Agee I didn't enjoy. NOTHING (a parody of `me too' consumerism) has a funny story line that has the grown ups thinking and the kids just having a good time.
Otis the shopowner has sold his last antique when Suzie Gump, the richest lady in town, walks in.
"Now, what's for sale?" asks Suzie Gump. And when Otis says, "Nothing," Suzie who has everything immediately wants to buy it.
"I have a lot of things," says Suzie, "But I've never had nothing! I'll pay you three hundred dollars!"
Well, baffled, Otis remembers his papa's famous words: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. So he sells her nothing and the shopkeepers across the street are incredulous. They're ready when Suzie comes back the next day.
`Yer in luck, miss. I have the finest in nothing."
"I have nothing imported. Nothing from Italy! Nothing from China!"
What a riot! Everyone is talking about Suzie Gump buying nothing as if it was something. Before you know, Suzie has set a trend. Stores are selling nothing. Everyone is clamouring for all the nothing they can get, and nothing is selling so well that, in order to make room for more nothing, people have to get rid of something. All of their somethings end up with Otis whose store now holds more things than ever.
One week later, Suzie Gump is taking a bath.
"Rosie, could you fetch me a towel?"
"There is no towel, madam."
"What about a bathrobe?"
"There is no bathrobe, madam. There is nothing,"
"Nothing won't do. I need something right now! Bring the car around to the front."
"There is no car, madam."
With Suzie needing something, you can pretty much guess it's going to be another lucky day for Otis.
So if you haven't got a thing to read, why not read NOTHING? Jon Agee's NOTHING is really quite something!
A very smart concept, told in a way that makes kids think. It was my son's favorite for several months, and unlike many other kids' stories, I didn't mind reading this book over and over again. I love the illustrations too.
Jon Agee is a very entertaining writer/author, but this book takes the cake. A humble antiques dealer is all out of inventory, when in comes the richest lady in town. There's nothing to be sold, but when you have everything, nothing is an intreguing concept. So the lady insists on paying top dollar for nothing, and thus begins a craze that upends the town.
"Nothing" is a fantastic, laugh-out-loud book for little kids and their parents. But why stop there? I would recommend this book as a reading assignment for Econ or Business students, all the way from elementary school to college. ["What happened? Why did it happen? What parallels do you see in real life? What's the lesson for business owners? What's the policy lesson?" etc., etc.] Anyone's whose seen their stock portafolio double, then half overnight will appreciate this book -- but don't get me wrong, it's absolutely the type of picture book that will have your four-year-old in stitches [while learning about an interesting concept].