The mess we're asked to concern ourselves with is an imaginative little boy's room--which his parents (in balloon dialogue) insist that he clean up by ""tomorrow noon,"" while his goody-goody sister gloats because he'll have to stay in his room, scoffs when her parents worry if they're being too harsh, etc. The boy goes on having impromptu picnics with his resident menagerie (which includes an alligator, a crow, and a passel of mice), playing pirate, and generally wreaking havor until his time is almost up. Then, somehow or other, he manages to stuff everything into a closet. But he's hardly been praised by his beaming parents before snotty sis, piqued, slams the door to his room, the closet door pops its hinges, and the room--unbeknownst to his self-congratulating mom and dad--is the same old total mess. A pale reflection of the real anarchy Sendak has perpetuated on occasion--but mostly (in its cutesiness, its exaggeration, its meaningless mayhem) a reflection of parental attitudes toward children's untidiness.