Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Gift of Nothing

The Gift of Nothing

Patrick McDonnell
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 and up
Little Brown, 2005   ISBN: 978-0316114882

Mooch the cat very much wants to give his friend Earl a gift. There is a very real problem with his plan however. Earl has everything that a dog could possibly want. Mooch puzzles and puzzles and then he comes up with the answer. He will give Earl the gift of nothing. One would think that it would be easy to find nothing but for Mooch the job turns out to be quite a trial and he has look all over the place for this illusive gift.

At last Mooch finds what he is looking for and he takes his gift over to Earl’s house. At first Earl isn’t sure about Mooch’s odd present but, being a clever sort of animal, he quickly gets the point of Mooch’s gift and is delighted with it.

In a day and age when there is so much emphasis placed on material things, on shopping, and on spending money, this book with its message of friendship and giving is like a breath of fresh air. Simple and minimal artwork is rendered in black and white with only a touch of color here and there. The text is also spare and to the point, capturing the essence of the love shared by these two charming friends and reminding the reader that the best gifts of all are the ones that cannot really be wrapped.