Super-Completely and Totally the Messiestby Judith Viorst, Robin Preiss Glasser (Illustrator)
Now in paperback for the first time, the story of Charlie, a kid who knows how to be ready for any situation…. Just in Case . If a downpour turns into a flash flood or the grocery store should close indefinitely, Charlie knows exactly what he’ll do. But as Charlie is about to discover, sometimes not being ready is even better than being prepared/i>
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How you will rate this book depends on your personal habits. Neat people will love it. Those who are a little clumsy and disorganized will feel hurt by it. Parents should be very careful in choosing whether or not to buy and read this book to their children. If you have a clumsy child in your household or neighborhood, avoid this book! I graded the book down for the gratuitous put-downs aimed at those who have accidents! Think of this book as Ms. Neat's view of Ms. Awkwardly Messy. 'My room is very neat -- like me, Olivia.' The feeling of superiority begins there and becomes supercilious as the book progresses. Her younger sibling, Sophie, gets excited and makes messes of almost everything. She is either clumsy, forgets to be careful, or is plain unlucky. Although there is token affirmation in the end ('mom says . . . Sophie's a kind and very nice person,' 'dad says . . . Sophie's a smart and funny person,' and 'Jake [her brother] says . . . Sophie's great at puzzles and dancing . . . .'), clearly the real message is that a klutz should be a butt for jokes. Come on! What kind of message is that to send to children? Development rates vary a lot with children. Some are still a little awkward well into their teenage years, while others have wonderful small and large muscle coordination early. Children don't choose to be clumsy. They just are. The perspective in the story could have been shifted to be Sophie's and emphasize how well she means. Then, it would have been a positive story. Having the 'perfect' older sister explain her shortcomings makes it just a painful putdown. The illustrations in the book rise well above the story. Sophie is a delighful-looking carrot-topped child with a smiling eager face in a colorful home and family. I liked her. I also liked the enthusiasm and warm heart behind her well-meaning mayhem. Maybe I feel that way because I'm Mr. Messy in our household. Think about when intent counts and when results count with children. With children, if the intent is good, the results will eventually follow. Is neatness always an advantage? When is it? When isn't it? Enjoy everyone in your family, for all of their characteristics! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
I think that Super-Completely...is a delight. The comical illustrations and phraseology are so truly indicative of real childhood. Sophie is clearly a happy, contented child, and though she makes attempts to achieve even some slight level of older sister's 'perfection', she's not crushed when she falls short. I believe that the book portrays Sophie's family as being without a doubt accepting of her little quirks. Sophie's unruly curls are a great touch!