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THIS MESS by Pam Conrad


by Pam Conrad & illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-7868-0159-X
Publisher: Hyperion

A winsome, wacky look at what happens when a father instructs his three children to “make this room look better.” While Dad retreats to the kitchen to make spaghetti sauce on a rainy afternoon, Elizabeth, Sophia, and little Salvatore start by putting the blocks away and folding the newspapers. However, things get a bit surreal when Sophia decides to arrange the books by color—“all the blue books together”—and the word blue metamorphoses into fat letters; Elizabeth makes a rainbow (that word is rainbow-colored); and Salvatore, who has already made the carpet fly, lifts the ceiling and lets the just-returning sun shine in. Daddy says, “Amazing!” The deep textured pastel illustrations have many perspectives: Readers are looking down from the top of the bookcase at Sophia, sideways at the flying carpet, and from the floor when the room has been liberated from its roof. With friendly clutter in every corner of each scene, and the agreeable patterns in the children’s clothing, Sayles gives readers plenty to pore over and their own ideas about how to make a room “better.” (Picture book. 4-8)