Review of All About Nothing

All About Nothing All About Nothing
by Elizabeth Rusch; illus. by Elizabeth Goss
Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp.
4/23    9781623543525    $17.99
e-book ed.  9781632893222    $9.99

Rusch’s thought-provoking text begins: “Nothing is the space around and between everything.” The presence of nothing, cued by plain white areas in the cut-paper illustrations, appears first as physical space: the gap where a tooth once sat, the expanse between stars in the sky, the space for a missing puzzle piece. Important, too, is nothing as temporal space: the moment before a leap of faith or a bit of spare time in one’s day. Even in music, room for nothing fosters beauty: “For what is a song without some silence?” There can be, of course, too much or too little of nothing. On these spreads in particular, Goss’s use of color and space makes a strong emotional impact: a queasy-green child sandwiched between tightly packed adults in a crowd finds “too little” of nothing, while a blue-hued child sulks surrounded by “too much” of nothing amid a stark white double-page spread. Wherever nothing is found, there is space for something to unfurl. Goss’s intricate illustrations visually articulate the importance of nothing, or negative space, as discussed in the back matter. A striking call for young children and aspiring artists alike, the story sets out to prove that “nothing” matters, after all.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Grace McKinney
Grace McKinney Beermann

Grace McKinney Beermann holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons University and reviews for the Horn Book Magazine. She works at a Montessori school in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes about children's books and Montessori on the blog Cosmic Bookshelf.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.