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The Gift of Nothing Hardcover – Picture Book, October 5, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 441 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The stars of the Mutts comic strip, Mooch the cat and his canine friend, Earl, break out of the Sunday funnies into the picture book world. McDonnell applies his spare style, sketching his cheeky characters with only a few deliberate lines. Each has a distinctive feature—Mooch's red ellipse-shaped nose, Earl's Princess Leia ears—that makes them instantly endearing. With plain backgrounds, a limited palette and a small square trim size, the book looks like a blown-up cartoon strip (even the pages have a newspaper-like grittiness). But the story has more depth than the minimalist visuals would suggest. Here, Mooch searches for the perfect gift for Earl. "What do you get someone who has everything?" he wonders. (Earl is the proud owner of a bowl, bed and chewy toy.) Mooch mulls it over (red and black dots and bubbles indicate his deep thinking) and comes up with "Nothing! He would give Earl the gift of nothing." But where to find nothing? Mooch tries shopping (because "Millie came home from the store and said, 'There was nothing to buy!' "). But alas, "nothing was not for sale." How he solves the problem is pure delight, reminding young readers that the greatest gift is friendship, not things. Both Mutts fans and newcomers will appreciate McDonnell's clever wordplay and lovable characters, who prove that nothing can be everything. All ages.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4–This story features characters from McDonnell's comic strip Mutts. Mooch (a cat) wants to give Earl (a dog) a gift, but he already has a bowl, a bed, and even a chewy toy. In fact, he [has] it ALL. In a flash of inspiration, Mooch decides to give him nothing, and sets out to find it. Though the kids say there is nothing to do, they always seem to be doing something. And even though Millie says there [is] nothing to buy, Mooch finds plenty in the stores. In the end, he wraps a big box with nothing in it and presents it to his friend. There's nothing here, says Earl. Nothing…but me and you, Mooch replies. And that's the point. The text is minimal and the small cartoon drawings are executed in black and white with touches of red and surrounded by plenty of white space. As Mooch ponders over his dilemma, he is engulfed by question marks. The picture of the two friends sitting wrapped paw-in-paw as they enjoy nothing and everything is charming. A fine vehicle for a one-on-one discussion of the meaning of friendship and gift-giving.–Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (October 5, 2005)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 56 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 031611488X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0316114882
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 3+ years, from customers
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD450L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.1 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.15 x 0.65 x 8.1 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 441 ratings

About the author

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Patrick McDonnell’s beloved comic strip, MUTTS, has appeared in over 700 newspapers across 20 countries for over 25 years. MUTTS has received numerous awards both for its artistic excellence and for its animal and environmental protection themes. Charles Schulz called it “One of the best comics strips of all time.”

Heart To Heart: A Conversation on Love and Hope for Our Precious Planet, a collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was released on January 24, 2023. His Holiness has said “It is my hope that this book will open the eyes, minds and hearts of all people.” Further details about the book can be found at mutts.com/hearttoheart

McDonnell is also the author of New York Times bestselling picture books, including The Gift of Nothing and the Caldecott Honor winning Me...Jane (a childhood biography of Jane Goodall). Both have been adapted as musicals for the Kennedy Center stage. He has also collaborated with spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle on Guardians of Being and with Rumi translator-poet Daniel Ladinsky on Darling I Love You.

McDonnell was a member of the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States for 18 years and currently serves on the boards of The Fund for Animals, The Charles M. Schulz Museum and D&R Greenway Land Trust.

You can sign up to receive the daily MUTTS comic strip at MUTTS.com.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
441 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

smw
3.0 out of 5 stars Story is wonderful, really really lovely
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 20, 2016
susan warren
2.0 out of 5 stars I was giving it as a present & it didn't come with the hardback cover.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 25, 2016
Mimu Flow
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, adorable and yet true
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 9, 2016
Marie Demeter
5.0 out of 5 stars I've already received 1 request for my "Gift of Nothing".
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on January 1, 2014
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Louise Saines
5.0 out of 5 stars The true meaning of Christmas?
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