‘More’ is a story that, particularly these days, we could all take a little bit away from. Author I.C. Springman tells her story with few words and beautifully expressive illustrations that clearly display the awareness raising moral of her story-that less can truly be more.
What Is ‘More’ About?
More is about a magpie and a few friendly mice. The book begins with the magpie, completely alone, with the word “Nothing” on the page. The story then progresses, sticking to sparse text, as the magpie gets “Something” from a mouse and then “A few things” and then the bird goes on to collect many, many various (bordering on useless) items. It’s nest begins to fill and overflow until it has amassed way too much stuff, but still the magpie wants more. It fills not just its own nest, but many others, and as things begin to get out of control the mice appear more and more worried about their friend. Finally, ‘more’ has become far too much, and the magpie learns (in rather a hard way) just why it doesn’t do any good to have too much stuff.
What Are The Illustrations Like?
The illustrations are intricate, expressive, and detailed. They have all the components needed to speak for the part of the story not written in words. The illustrator, Brian Lies, has illustrated dozens of children’s books before More, but there is something about this particular book that is special. The way he depicts each scene speaks in volume. The expressions he puts on the characters are beautiful, they bring them to life. The way the Magpies eyes change, the way its wings shift, everything, captures the bird completely, and the same with mice, and all the emotions that are expressed on their faces. You can feel the meaning of the story resonating behind each image.
In this book, the author only puts a few words per page, and in this, she is brilliant. The moral of the story that is being passed on to its readers is clear. Less is more. To be truly happy, for all of us to be truly happy, we must learn that more ‘stuff’ does not equal more happiness, quite the opposite really. But would her message be so clear if she had cluttered it with more words? Perhaps we would have understood the story just as well, but we probably wouldn’t have felt it. Anyone can tell you that less is more, but not everyone can show you. I.C. Springman has gone and re enforced her message by demonstrating that with only a few words, you can still have a huge impact on your readers. She essentially proves to us readers that less can be more.
Perhaps adults only need to be reminded of this stories moral, but children need to learn it, and for them to be able to see it as I.C. Springman has shown it is huge. In a world where there is an extreme imbalance of those who know scarcity, and those who don’t, it is more important than ever to them to be happy with the wonderful things they have, teach them to share with others. This is no easy task, we all know children have a hard time with impulse control when it comes to wanting more things. But we must nudge them in the right direction of what will make them truly happy, and in reading More to them, you are doing that. I fully believe that in writing this book, the author has done what she set out to do. By passing on the moral of her story, we can read it with the hope that “one day there will be enough for all.’*
* Inside the back cover of the book it reads about the author “More was written for her grandsons, with the hope that one day there will be enough for all.”