Saturday, August 27, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book two hundred and thirty-nine

Learning how to live with other people can be challenging. They have strange idiosyncrasies, annoying habits, and faults that try our patience. Why is he is so messy? What does she eat with her mouth open? Why won't they ever help with the chores? These are surely complaints that many of your will be familiar with. 

Today's picture book tells the story of a little girl who is incredibly messy. Children will laugh at loud as they follow her adventures, and they will sympathize with her family members who do their best to cope having someone in their lives who is "totally the messiest!"

Judith Viorst
Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2001, 978-1-4169-4200-9
   Olivia is a very neat child, and her room reflects her determination to make sure that everything is in its proper place. Her big brother Jake is “sort of” neat, and he certainly is not a “HUGE slob.” Olivia’s little sister Sophie is the messiest person Olivia has ever met. Sophie’s room is quite simply a disgusting mess, and you would have to be crazy to go in there.
   The thing of it is that Sophie does not confine her messiness to her room. Everything she touches or goes near ends up messed up in some way. When the family went to the beach, Sophie singlehandedly managed to destroy seven contest quality sandcastles with her pail and a towel. At the farm, Sophie tripped on her shoelaces and managed to wreck the vegetable garden and upset all the animals. Except the pigs. The pigs thought Sophie was one of them.
   Sophie’s family members ask her to be “neat” and “careful.” They beg her to “watch where you’re going and watch what you are doing.” If only she would “pay attention.” The thing is that Sophie really does try. For a little while. Until she forgets.
   In this charming picture book, we meet a little girl who is delightful, funny, smart, loving, and well meaning. Watching Sophie create chaos wherever she goes reminds us that we all have out faults, and we are all, like Sophie, loveable in spite of these faults.
   With wonderful illustrations and an irrepressible main character, this is a picture book that children and their grownups are sure to enjoy.

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