Cover image for Just enough and not too much
Just enough and not too much
Zemach, Kaethe.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Simon the fiddler had a cozy little house and everything he needed. Then one day he decided he needed more chairs, more toys, more hats, until the house was too crowded.
Reading Level:
AD 490 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 73919.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.3 1 Quiz: 34093 Guided reading level: J.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A tribute to collectors everywhere and to the most important thing to have in one's home: friends.

For cheerful Simon the Fiddler, there's no such thing as too much. If he hugs one teddy bear, then he will surely love three bears three times more. And if he has four chairs, then a fifth and sixth will give him that many more places to sit. It's not until his possessions crowd him out of his cottage that he realizes what will really make him happy -- and it's not something that can be measured in numbers.
Kaethe Zemach's gladdening new picture book is a gentle fable about getting and giving, with a lesson that's "just enough and not too much."

Author Notes

Kaethe Zemach is the oldest sister in the Zemach family. Her parents, Margot and Harve Zemach, are the team behind the Caldecott Medal-winning DUFFY AND THE DEVIL. When she was fourteen, Kaethe collaborated with them on THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGGIE. Other titles include JUST ENOUGH AND NOT TOO MUCH and EATING UP GLADYS. Kaethe's work was recently featured in a special exhibition at the Eric Carle Museum.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. Here's a wonderful message wrapped in a honey of a tale. Simon the fiddler lives in a cozy house with everything he needs: a chair, a bed, clothes, a soft hat, a stuffed animal, good friends, and a fiddle. He's happy until the day he thinks, I want more! Uh-oh. Soon there are chairs and hats and animals everywhere he looks. The house is no longer comfortable; it's crowded. And taking care of his stuff takes Simon away from his fiddle and his pals. Then he has an idea: a party where everyone comes and sits on his chairs and, afterward, takes one home, along with a hat and a toy animal. Zemach, daughter of Margot and Herve, provides a straightforward and effective telling illustrated by watercolor-and-gouache artwork that moves from simple to swarming to simple once more as Simon learns that having everything is worth nothing when it keeps you from the things and people you love. Parents and teachers will find plenty here to start a discussion. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Zemach (The Character in the Book) applies her cozy, colorful illustrations to this tale of a fiddler whose short bout with greed wakes him to the meaning of true contentment. Simon is "perfectly happy" keeping house, spending time with friends and playing his fiddle until he abruptly decides one day he doesn't have enough. "I want more!" he exclaims from atop his sole wooden chair, the shout arching over his head in large, blue typeface. While no reason is given for this sudden change of heart, readers will enjoy the ensuing repetitive narrative alongside animated vignettes of him stockpiling more stuff. "So, Simon got another chair. And another, and another, and then a few more." The pattern continues with hats and stuffed animals, as warm-hued watercolor and gouache illustrations depict the increasingly crowded abode. At once modest in their composition and involved in their variety of colors, patterns and textures (e.g., a blowzy floral motif on a chair, a cotton-candy pink braided rug), Zemach's light and bright paintings-complete with rosy-cheeked characters-maintain a cheerful mood. Realizing his added possessions fail to deliver lasting happiness as they clutter his simple lifestyle, Simon throws a party and sends guests home with the extraneous belongings. A good read to temper a case of the "Gimmees." Ages 3-7. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-Simon the Fiddler has a very good life. He lives in a cozy little house; sleeps in a comfy bed; and has plenty to eat, a soft hat to wear, good friends, and a beautiful fiddle. One day, he decides, "I want more!" So Simon buys a new chair, and then another, and another. But filling his home with furniture doesn't seem to satisfy his urge, so the fellow acquires an array of hats, and then, a menagerie of toy animals. For awhile, he enjoys his crowded little house, but when he can no longer move around comfortably, he discovers that he misses his simple life. So he bakes a cake, sets his new chairs around a long table, adds hats and toy animals, and invites his friends over for a party. Afterward, he asks everyone to take a chair, hat, and toy home. Finally, Simon is able to relax and enjoy his simple life once more. Zemach's keen sense of color and shape and use of white space adds to the homey feel of this book. The rich watercolor-and-gouache illustrations, many emphasizing rounded forms, are full of movement and joy. Readers will breathe a sigh of relief with Simon at the story's end. Perfect for storyhours or individual readings.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.