TOO MUCH STUFF! by Emily Gravett

TOO MUCH STUFF! is a hilarious rhyming picture book about two magpies whose collection of treasures starts to overwhelm their nest. Meg and Ash put a huge amount of effort into making their nest homely for their new family until they realise that possessions aren’t the most important things in life. It’s a fun story to stimulate conversations about re-using and recycling unwanted items.

The Story: Meg and Ash are building a nest in anticipation of starting a family. They lay four perfect eggs but then worry that they need to collect more stuff to make the nest better. Gradually they fill it with other people’s unwanted items until the eggs crack and they realise how unimportant all their ‘new’ stuff is in comparison to the safety of their newly hatched chicks.

The magpies line their nest with an old magazine before laying their eggs but things get out of hand as they bring back bigger and bigger items including cuckoo clocks (yes – more than one!), a teddy bear, cleaning supplies, a bin (including its contents!) and bicycles for all the chicks! A large vehicle turns out to be the last straw and panic ensues as Meg and Ash try and find their eggs among the chaos that was their nest. All the eggs are broken but then Meg and Ash get a wonderful surprise!

Squirrels, rabbits, mice and hedgehogs watch with increasing concern as Meg and Ash’s nest grows and wobbles more and more precariously. It’s great to see Pete the Badger from Tidy and we love the way that the animals find uses for some of Meg and Ash’s treasures at the end of the story.

Emily Gravett’s illustrations are bold and colourful on a predominantly white background and they’re full of humour. We love the illustrations of all the animals, especially the expressions on their faces as they watch Meg and Ash collect more and more outrageous ‘treasures’ and the illustrations of the nest are hilarious. We love the addition of solar powered fairy lights for when it gets dark!

TOO MUCH STUFF! - Story Snug

The endpapers in this book are AWESOME and show adverts in ‘STUFF Magazine’. Many of the items that Meg and Ash find for their nest are advertised and there’s also an amusing but very effective advert for ‘The Four ‘R’s of Recycling’ in which a squirrel in a striped jumper demonstrates the concept of Reduce, Repair, Re-use and Recycle. 

The book jacket is double sided and has an illustration of the two magpies. When you take the jacket off the hardback cover shows a beautiful woodland scene with an assortment of objects – clocks, a teapot, socks – clues to some of the items that Meg and Ash collect.

TOO MUCH STUFF! is an amusing story with a serious message. Meg and Ash do reuse items for their nest but they also lose sight of the fact that it is not the things that you have that make a home but the loved ones that you share it with.

Age Range: 3 +

Author / Illustrator: Emily Gravett

Thank you to Macmillan Books for sending TOO MUCH STUFF! It’s lovely to see Pete the Badger in a new story 🙂

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