Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Block Mess Monster

Howie, Betsy. 2008. THE BLOCK MESS MONSTER. Ill. by C.B. Decker. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805079401 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]

In her first picture book, Betsy Howie turns her attention to the all-too-common problem of picking up toys. Calpurnia’s mom wants her to clean her room, but the scary Block Mess Monster lies in wait. Unfortunately, Calpurnia’s mother doesn’t see the monster or the danger it presents, only the toys that must be put away. Caught between her mother’s vacuum cleaner and a monster mess that refuses to move, how is Calpurnia going to clean her room in time? Ultimately, Calpurnia’s mother is the one that discovers a clever solution to the problem.

C.B. Decker’s colorful cartoon illustrations accompany Howie’s witty dialogue well. The characters’ exaggerated expressions and body movements capture the family drama in a way that will feel very familiar to young audiences that probably struggle with the same issue. This clever picture book is destined to become a favorite for repeated readings.

Adults looking for a creative and fun way to encourage children to pick up toys, or complete other household chores, will enjoy this book as much as their audience. This picture book would also complement a lesson on responsibility or teamwork.

Other books to encourage children to pick up their toys:
Falconer, Ian. OLIVIA…AND THE MISSING TOY. ISBN 9780689852916
MacDonald, Betty. THE WON’T-PICK-UP-TOYS CURE. ISBN 9780060276287
Teague, Mark. PIGSTY. ISBN 978-0590459150

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

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