More by I. C. Springman and Brian Lies

It’s human nature to want to accumulate or even hoard things that one may or may not need (also known as how-clutter-takes-shape) — and, worse, to constantly crave and/or ask for more. But, as we all know, sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing.

In More, a magpie starts off with an empty nest — but not for long. It begins innocuously with a shiny marble that he receives as a gift, but the magpie soon picks up more and more of such little treasures (one man’s junk is another bird’s treasure — who are we to judge?), which he hoards away in his nest(s).

Before long, his heaving collection of knick-knacks (based on the real-life clutter of the illustrator) becomes unmanageable, and is a disaster waiting to happen…

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Truly, less can be more — and not just in terms of the things we choose to own. There is, as well, much beauty in brevity. Thanks to the brilliantly detailed, life-like and drop-dead-mesmerising illustrations by Brian Lies (rhymes with flees), the book manages to deliver a powerful message with very few words. And, of course, it’s particularly apposite and poetic for a book that champions minimalism to successfully pack a big punch in under 50 words (45, to be exact).

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Not a single word goes to waste, and children can also pick up a valuable lesson in vocabulary from the variety of carefully chosen and nuanced expressions used to describe a full spectrum of quantities, ranging from ‘nothing’ to ‘a few’, to ‘plenty’, and finally, ‘much too much’.

Anyone will be able to relate to and take something away from this beautiful picture book — not least the simple truth that happiness comes from appreciating and being content with what you have.

“Enough? Yes, enough.”

Amen.

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