This week we’re talking about building appreciation for what you have — more is not always better!
Never Satisfied: The Story of The Stonecutter (Nancy Paulsen Books; ages 3-5) as told by Dave Horowitz is a streamlined, poignant and hilarious telling of a Japanese folktale that teaches the folly of believing the grass is always greener on the other side.
Stanley is a successful stonecutter, but he works hard for a living and finds himself envying a business man drinking tea at his leisure. A wish to take the other man’s place transforms him into a tea-sipping businessman. But upon seeing a king being carried in a litter to the throngs of a parade, he finds himself wishing for more. His wish is granted, but he then finds himself sweating under a clear sky and envious of the sun’s power to shine on everything below. Another wish leads to another transformation, which then leads to more envy for power of another kind. This pattern repeats until Stanley finds himself a stone at the mercy of a stonecutter’s chisel.
Bold, colorful, cut-paper illustrations perfectly complement the limited text making this an excellent read-aloud choice. Each image is eye-catching and Stanley’s expressions expertly convey the emotional rollercoaster that is wishing for more and then realizing it’s not what you expected. The overall effect is an engaging and entertaining read with a memorable message about learning to be satisfied with what you have.
Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson (Capstone; ages 3-5)
Can you ever have too much of a good thing? This is the question faced by Rabbit, who gathers carrots at every opportunity and with no concern for where to put them. He is very proud of his collection, which far exceeds his dietary needs and the storage space in his home. But he loves his carrots too much to part with any. So when he and his carrots can no longer fit inside his home, he seeks help from friends. But his collection proves far too large for any of their homes, and each act of hospitality results in destruction and an increasing number of homeless friends. When Rabbit eventually finds himself the only one with an intact home, he realizes that carrots are not really for collecting and sharing with friends is more satisfying than maintaining a multitude for himself.
This book is an absolute delight to read. The generosity and patience of Rabbit’s friends are heart-warming. The illustrations are lovely and full of fun details. And the images of carrot-induced chaos are guaranteed to produce giggles all around. Overall, it’s a beautifully executed tale about the value of moderation that’s perfect for young readers and a joy to share at story time.
Too Many Moose! by Lisa M. Bakos, illustrated by Mark Chambers (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; ages 4-8)
After great deliberation about what kind of pet to get, Martha decides to order herself one moose. She is so delighted with her moose that she decides to order three more. But then having four moose is so much fun, she decides to order three more again. And then three more again. She and her moose have a fantastic time swimming, doing math, and baking muffins (among other things) until suddenly having ten moose is not so fun. When her home is in chaos from moose running amok, she decides that “more moose were most certainly quite a mistake!” In the end, she returns nine moose and keeps her one original, marvelous moose.
This is a superbly fun, alliteration filled read paired with playful and energetic illustrations which make it a frequent choice in our home. The premise of manicured, mambo-dancing pet moose is fantastically absurd and thus hilarious every time we read it. But the concept of wanting more of something you enjoy is absolutely relatable. And this is the magic of Too Many Moose! By the end of the book, even the kids agree that one moose is far better than ten. Overall, it’s a delightful book with an excellent message about how less is sometimes far better than more.