Friday, August 30, 2013

When Less is More

Poor Magpie has a problem. His nest is empty, and having nothing is making him feel sad. To cheer him up, his friend Mouse brings him something, a marble, and Magpie instantly perks up. If something is good, more must be better, right? Magpie embarks on a wild gathering spree. Soon we see he has even had to build extra nests to store all of his cool new stuff!

Magpie's collection would be attractive to any preschooler. He has keys, toys, a bottle opener, a postage stamp ... the list goes on and on. Alas, now Magpie has a new problem:  hoarding.

Morewritten by I. C. Springman and illustrated by Brian Lies, is something of a life lesson, math lesson and game of I Spy all rolled into one. 

Springman's spare text is full of quantitative and comparative words that are just right for exploring early math concepts. Using words like nothing, more, less, and several helps preschoolers to compare quantities and prepares them for addition and subtraction.  

Likewise, Lies' bold and detailed illustrations provide kids with a chance to develop their descriptive skills as they tell you about the many things Magpie has collected. Use those illustrations to play a game of I Spy and talk about same and different shapes and colors. While you're doing that you're also practicing categorization. Similarly, you can also play a matching game with your child and see how many things he or she can find around the house that are like the things that Magpie collects.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson to be learned from More is that too much stuff -- even wonderful stuff -- can become a burden. Magpie enjoys gathering more and more things but the tree that supports his nest(s) becomes overloaded and a branch breaks off. Magpie gets buried by all of his treasures. Fortunately, Mouse is able, with the help of some friends, to dig Magpie out. As too much becomes less and less, Magpie emerges from the heap. Finally, Mouse is able to help Magpie pick out a few precious items that are just enough.

Check our More from your local Pima County Public Library branch.  No matter what conversation it ends up inspiring, time spent snuggling with your preschooler and a book is time well spent.  Happy reading!

Miss Robin

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