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NOTHING by Jon Agee


by Jon Agee & illustrated by Jon Agee

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7868-3694-9
Publisher: Hyperion

In a barbed commentary on fashion cycles, Agee creates a spare tale that begins and ends in a storekeeper’s emptied antiques shop. When Suzie Gump, the richest lady in town, walks in, Otis has “nothing” to sell. To his bemusement, she offers him $300 for it, which both inspires the neighboring merchants to offer nothing, too, and sets off a general stampede of customers—all of whom go home to throw their somethings out the window to make “room.” Eventually, Suzie Gump grows dissatisfied with having nothing, and comes back to truck off the store-full of discarded goods that Otis has picked up. A moment later, in walks Tubby Portobello, the richest man in town. Though the author tucks occasional genially humorous details into his simply drawn cartoon scenes, he seems more bent on satire, poking fun at the rich folk by dressing them in florid garb and depicting the hoi polloi in happy, sheep-like herds. Next to the rich feeling and insight in Patrick McDonnell’s Gift of Nothing (2005), Agee’s take on the core idea is superficial, but his solid fan base will welcome this new outing. (Picture book. 6-8)