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The Gift of Nothing


4.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,503 ratings  ·  253 reviews
Mooch the cat desperately wants to find a gift for his friend - Earl the dog. He wonders what he can buy the dog who has everything and decides that the answer, of course, is nothing. This simple story features characters from the Mutts comic strips and is the first book for children.
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published October 5th 2005 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,503 ratings  ·  253 reviews

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Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
I read this a long time ago, and today, as I was cleaning out and reorganising my bookshelf, I read it again.

God, it's good.

For a rather simply illustrated book with animal characters and not much going on, it packs a really incredible emotional punch- this thing made me cry. I think it's a book that many more people should read, especially now that we're nearing the holiday season; in a world of so much something, so many of us have forgotten the joy of nothing.

This is a perfect, adorable, and
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laura by: Sonya
Shelves: picture-books
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell is an adorable, heartwarming, *hug*-inspiring gem of a book!

Mooch is on the hunt for that perfect gift for his best friend, Earl. But with simple, small, black-and-white-with-a-dash-of-color, hilariously expressive illustrations, Mr. McDonnell shows that some of the best gifts in life do not fit in a box.

I highly recommend this sweet tale of friendship and love. My heart is still “awww-ing” all over the place! :)

Thanks, Sonia!

Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mooch wants to give his friend, Earl, the perfect gift but he has everything. What do you give the person who has everything? Simple, nothing. The illustrations are cute and simple allowing the message of friendship to be the star. Great book.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who have everything
Mooch the cat needs to find a birthday present for Earl the dog, who's already got everything. What's he going to do? He cunningly solves the problem by giving Earl nothing, wrapped up in a box with a pretty bow.

It's cute, though if I were going to be pedantic I might complain that the basic joke was ripped off from Hurra för pappa Åberg! , which actually has a more elaborate version. But most likely Gunilla Bergström ripped it off in turn from Sophocles or one of those dudes. I can't believe
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
well even though im in 8th grade doesn't mean i cant read picture books! this book is so cute and the perfect christmas story to read to young readers. well Mooch is trying to get his best friend Erik a christmas gift but tells his self "how do i get someone something when they already have everything?" well he decides to get erik the gift of nothing! well find the book and read it for yourself to find out Mooch's adventures!
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Milo by: Library borrow
"I liked the part where the gift was nothing. I didn't like the part where I had to sound out words. I just went 'blah. blah. blah. I just don't like sounding out big words. And I liked to read it to Baby Giraffee. Next time he would like the artist to draw a picture of him and me together."

Mama thinks the idea of the gift of nothing is rather special. In the end the "nothing" was a special "something". Although Mama loved the idea, I told her I want more than nothing on my birthday.

Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There is something called "the gift of NOTHING"
and definitely you wont know it till you read the book
cozy and intelligent "friendship" book
I already have a list of ppl whom I want them to read it ;D

في كل مرة يحتم علي أن أقدم هدية
أجدني في حيرة
:$ أما الآن أضحى كل شيء
كتاب عن الصداقة
It is great that author/illustrator Patrick McDonnell practices what he preaches in regards to animal advocacy. His books carry so many important messages concerning how animals enrich our lives. I also enjoy how he weaves guiding principles along with funny tales (tails) involving Earl & Mooch on how we as humans can coexist better with nature.
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My child went shopping with me, and I found him walking around saying, "the latest this, the newest that, buy, sale, sale, buy; there is nothing to buy ..." And I realized the book had changed his life. For the better. Just a joy. And a must for every parent.
Carol Jen
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a sweet little book about the best gift of all! Adorable illustrations... adding it to my "books to give as gifts" list.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely reminder of "being together" is more important than things and places.
Nojood Alsudairi
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The best gift to give is the gift if nothing because it is hard to find.
Thank you Huda for giving me the gift of nothing.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I want to give this book to every child. And every friend. A must for every personal library. So simple and so pure. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Denise Tan
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my fave children's books <3
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Most excellent book Diane! It brightened my day
Vivian Yeh
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell is a book about Mooch wanting to give his best friend, Earl, a gift because it’s a special day. However, Mooch was having a hard time thinking of a present to give to Earl, because Earl has everything. He looked around and he went out, but everyone was saying that there was nothing…So Mooch came up an idea and wrapped nothing in a box and brought it to Earl. When he opened the gift there was nothing, and Mooch said, there is nothing but you and me! They ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A work of genius in many ways. More of a picture book for teens and adults, a great gift. How many times do people tell us, “Don’t give me anything,”? This book is perfect. The gift in the story is an empty box. A gift of nothing. Nothing but friendship and love. I thought about what beautiful inscriptions could go inside the first page, bringing tears to the eyes of many a grandparent or best friend. I also thought about what innovative writing pieces students could create based on this unique ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great short book with deep truths. The little details in the story the pictures are telling makes it more amusing.

Also, my love language is definitely quality time and the message speaks loud and clear to me in this book. I would rather spend time with someone than receive a gift from them. I guess not all people are like that so I would be careful about getting certain people the gift of "nothing." Or maybe just get them this book so they might understand what to get you.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Mooch searches for the perfect gift for his friend, Earl. He gets the idea to give him nothing as he has everything he needs already. Mooch searches everywhere for nothing and finally finds it. The two enjoy the nothing together.
Use to share about celebrating time together and having just enough.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. Must have for a young child's home library. Artwork is simple yet captivating. A cat is trying to find a gift for his neighbor friend. He goes everywhere trying to find nothing. In the end, he finds nothing for his friend and they enjoy each other's presence. Meaningful story about friends just spending meaningful time together, even when doing nothing. Highly recommended.
Viet Nam
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Received this book as a birthday gift from my girlfriend. My company was in a hard time, I spent days and nights with paper works, sheets of numbers, with partners and banks. I left no time for myself and closest people around me . This book is a life saver, helps me to rethink about the value of “moments”, especially “nothing moments”.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: eng261, k-4, picture-book
I would suggest this book for ages 5-8. This book follows the journey of one friend trying to find the perfect gift for his friend, but his friend already has everything. So, his friend gives him the gift of nothing. This book has themes of friendship, loyalty, persistence, and love.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What do you give to someone who already has everything? This is a question many face at Christmastime. McDonnell concludes that the best gift is not a present, but presence. This book can be used as a writing prompt for giving gifts of time and experiences instead of things.
Working in a library has major perks, namely being surrounded by books glorious books! Poking my nose in a handful of picture books with touching messages and cute, creative illustrations is something I’m truly grateful for.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Kind of fun to find Earl and Mooch of Mutts in a recommended children's book.

There is a lot of wordplay focusing on nothing, which I am not sure if children will appreciate, but there could probably be some good follow-up discussions on gift-giving and the opposite of materialism.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finished it in one day. lol
It's a children's book, the typical full-page illustration with few sentences.
I guess what makes it special is how a simple thought could mean so much.

Especially when it involves sincerity.
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lo
This simple story teaches us that the greatest gift you can give someone is your time, your love and your attention.
My kids don't like it. They think that he should bring something to his friend at least he should throw him a birthday party!!
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
A profound reflection on friendship and contentment
Rebecca Caufman
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Sweet book with simple sentences and pictures about friends who do not need anything but each other.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simple, smart!!!
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In 1994 McDonnell created the comic strip MUTTS which now appears in over 700 newspapers and 20 countries.

In 2005, McDonnell embarked on a children's book career. His first children’s book, which featured the MUTTS characters, The Gift of Nothing, quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Art (2006), his second release, told the story of a boy named Art who makes art. His next release, Just Like

Other books in the series

Mutts (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • Cats and Dogs: Mutts II
  • More Shtuff - Mutts III (Mutts)
  • Yesh! - Mutts IV
  • Our Mutts: Five (Mutts, #5)
  • A Little Look-See:  Mutts 6 (Mutts, #6)
  • What Now: MUTTS VII
  • I Want to Be the Kitty: MUTTS 8
  • Dog-Eared: MUTTS 9
  • Who Let the Cat Out?: Mutts X