Quote of the Day


Nothing at All by Wanda Gag

I have found a marvelous book. Nothing At All by Wanda Gag (of Millions of Cats fame) is about three little puppies who need a home. Alas, one of the puppies in invisible; he just looks like nothing at all. When a nice boy and girl come to take the other puppies home, they can't see him and he gets left behind. He has to do a special magical project to get visible and get to go home with his brothers.

Cute story. Check.
Awesome Wanda Gag artwork. Check.
Really wholesome and matter-of-fact adoption talk. Check.

The book is not about adoption; it's about getting visible if you are invisible. Adoption happens and it is lovely.

Here is the bit I got all excited about.

"Don't cry, little pointy-eared dog," said the girl. "We won't hurt you. We'll adopt you both and give you milk to drink, and bones to nibble."

And the boy said, "Don't cry, little curley-eared dog. We'll be kind to you. We won't ever hit you or kick you, or pick you up by your neck or your tail, or with your legs dangling down."

When Pointy and Curly heard this, they knew they would be safe and happy, so they snuggled into the children's arms and went back to sleep.
Yes, there are some that dislike the word adoption used for animals. I puzzle over this because, at least at our house, adopting an animal is a forever relationship. But even folks whose language persnicketiness exceeds my own may appreciate this book, as it is a child's book and most children do indeed see their pets as furry siblings.

I very much appreciate that the book is not all about adoption - those books seem to force the point too much. I very much like that the children so thoroughly describe how safe the puppies will be, that the children are mindful that the puppies may be apprehensive about being adopted. I love that the book launches lots of talking points if we want to talk and tells a cute story if my children don't want to talk.

Wanda Gag (rhymes with blog) lived from 1893-1946; Nothing At All was a 1942 Caldecott Honor Book. She wrote and/or illustrated eleven books:
  • A Child’s Book of Folk-Lore, Mechanics of Written English; A Drill in the Use of Caps and Points through the Rimes of Mother Goose, 1917.
  • Millions of Cats, Coward, McCann, 1928.
  • The Funny Thing, Coward, McCann, 1929.
  • Snippy and Snappy, Coward-McCann, 1931.
  • Wanda Gag’s Storybook (contains Millions of Cats, The Funny Thing, and Snippy and Snappy), Coward-McCann, 1932.
  • The ABC Bunny, Coward-McCann, 1933.
  • Gone Is Gone; or, The Story of a Man Who Wanted to Do Housework, Coward-McCann, 1935.
  • Brothers Grimm, Tales from Grimm, Coward-McCann, 1936.
  • Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Coward-McCann, 1938.
  • Nothing at All, Coward-McCann, 1941.
  • Brothers Grimm, Three Gay Tales from Grimm, Coward-McCann, 1943.
  • Brothers Grimm, More Tales from Grimm, Coward-McCann, 1947.
You can learn more about her at Women Children's Book Illustrator site.


:: this post is part of the Children's Picture Book carnival hosted at Mentor Texts.

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