A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

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Overview

In this interactive and engaging read-aloud, bestselling author and award-winning artist Patrick McDonnell creates a funny, engaging, and almost perfect story about embracing life's messes.

Little Louie's story keeps getting messed up, and he's not happy about it! What's the point of telling his tale if he can't tell it perfectly? But when he stops and takes a deep breath, he realizes that everything is actually just fine, and his story is a ...

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Overview

In this interactive and engaging read-aloud, bestselling author and award-winning artist Patrick McDonnell creates a funny, engaging, and almost perfect story about embracing life's messes.

Little Louie's story keeps getting messed up, and he's not happy about it! What's the point of telling his tale if he can't tell it perfectly? But when he stops and takes a deep breath, he realizes that everything is actually just fine, and his story is a good one—imperfections and all.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Little Louie wants to tell a story and he wants to tell it just right, but it doesn't take him long to realize that perfection is a steep climb up a very slippery hill. As he tries and tries and tries to tell it right, he finally makes an important discovery: sometimes an almost perfect story or, for that matter, an almost perfect anything is just fine. Caldecott Honor award-winning author Patrick O'Donnell (Me...Jane; The Monsters' Monster) has created an interactive story that transcends age.

The New York Times Book Review - Mark Levine
The pleasures of watching a book depart from its conventions and address its sticky-fingered reader will tickle even the littlest postmodernist.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/18/2014
Louie, one of McDonnell’s adorable button-nosed creatures, is in the middle of his own story, singing happily when he notices some jelly on the pages. It’s not just a drawing—the photographic blob looks very real, as if readers had spilled jelly on their own book. Then a splotch of peanut butter lands on Louie’s head. “My story is getting all messed up!” he cries. A flurry of fingerprints, a splash of orange juice, and crayon scribbles soon follow. “This is the worst thing ever!” Louie wails, arms flailing wildly. The official-looking narration that starts and restarts as the book progresses (“This is Louie’s story”) turns out to be a kind of coach, an objective voice that urges Louie to take the long view. “I’m still here,” he concludes. “You’re still reading. And it is a pretty good story, messes and all.” Louie’s exaggerated reactions to the growing mess will trigger laughs with every page turn. Yet McDonnell (The Monster’s Monster) excels at reminding his characters—and readers—that it’s possible to keep it together even when life has jelly all over it. Ages 3–6. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Oct.)
Booklist
"McDonnell arranges the tale so that it blooms like a dawning day.... Relax, little monsters, and enjoy."
The New York Times Book Review
"Simple yet inspired."
From the Publisher
* "Brilliant.... A playful, funny, and friendly treatment of anxiety and life's unpredictable messes."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Louie's exaggerated reactions...will trigger laughs with every page turn....McDonnell... excels at reminding his characters—and readers—that it's possible to keep it together even when life has jelly all over it."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The pleasures of watching a book depart from its conventions and address its sticky-fingered reader will tickle even the littlest postmodernist."—New York Times Book Review

"Classic McDonnell pen, ink, and watercolor pastels blend with mixed-media and crayon messes to make this untidy tale a victory for unkempt books everywhere. Keep calm, and read on!"—School Library Journal

"This [one] is a fun one-Kiddos who get messy with their books will likely giggle."—Booklist

From the Publisher
* "Brilliant.... A playful, funny, and friendly treatment of anxiety and life's unpredictable messes."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
McDonnell, prize-winning cartoonist (MUTTS) and illustrator (Caldecott Honor, 2012), brings the youngest readers and viewers a funny, interactive tale of cartoon-like Louie, who’s trying to write a perfect book as he strolls through an idyllic green countryside. Kids will love the surprises as realistic-looking red jelly plops onto a page, then a blob of peanut butter (“chunky, Augh!”), next some inky fingerprints and a puddle of orange juice. Super-animated Louie, with a pen-and-ink face and wearing a yellow jumpsuit, reacts like a drama queen (or a preschooler) with surprise, indignation, and anger when his book starts getting messy. Well, Louie will control himself and start again! This time, the mess is a scrawl of colored markers, only made worse when he rubs it with an edge of paper towel. Now it’s tragedy time—little Louie sinks to his knees, collapses, and mourns his messy book that might end up in a garage sale and never be read. Will Louie give up? Aspiring actors will surely want to mimic Louie’s wild emotions and respond to his questions as, finally, the sun comes out and Louie realizes that his story (despite messes) is still a fine one. “I LOVE IT!” he yells; “Nothing is going to stop ME!” Parents and teachers will laugh, too, while applauding Louie’s resilience and his recognition that life is not always perfect. Do not forget to check the endpapers and the back jacket—or the front cover, a piece of modern art in itself. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 3 to 6.
School Library Journal
09/01/2014
PreS-Gr 1—Beloved Mutts comic-strip illustrator McDonnell brings children a story about how even the most perfect things can sometimes become…well, messed up. Louie sets out to tell his happy tale about skipping and singing when suddenly a jelly blob interrupts his cheerful narrative. This is soon followed by a peanut butter ("AUGH! The chunky kind!") mess. Louie is horrified that someone would treat his story so carelessly. As the mess builds, Louie becomes more and more anxious, until a really big mess causes him to give up. "I'm just a messy old book…no one will ever want, read, or love," he cries. He soon learns a wise lesson; it is the story that makes the book, not the mess. Life is not without imperfections, and neither are stories. Classic McDonnell pen, ink, and watercolor pastels blend with mixed-media and crayon messes to make this untidy tale a victory for unkempt books everywhere. Keep calm, and read on!—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-08-01
Here's an existential dilemma: What if you were a character in a book, and sandwich fillings fell onto your page from above? Louie skips across a calm green field under mild skies and neat, fluffy clouds. His footie pajamas are yellow, and his paper-white face is merry. "Tra la la la la," he sings. Suddenly, a blob of jelly falls from above, inferably dropped by a less-than-fastidious reader. "HEY!" shouts Louie in a speech bubble that obscures the text, nonplussed. He sniffs and licks the jelly for positive identification, squinting and declaring dissatisfaction with this sticky mess, when suddenly from above—"PLOP!" This time it's peanut butter. Enjoyable cartoon physics are at work: The peanut butter falls right onto Louie's face and covers it, but when he leans sideways, he's free of it. The ultrarealistic digitally collaged PB&J splotches retain their exact shape from spread to spread; McDonnell also uses pen and ink, brush pen, crayon and watercolor. More messes deface the idyllic countryside—fingerprints, juice, scribbles and, worst of all, a paper towel that smears rather than cleaning—and Louie has a meltdown. The blank backgrounds that throw Louie's freakout in relief, the interplay between narrative text and Louie's frantic speech bubbles, and Louie's prostrate despair are all brilliant. Happily, the backgrounds reappear (clean, but what's that on the endpaper?), and so does Louie's equilibrium. A playful, funny and friendly treatment of anxiety and life's unpredictable messes. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316222587
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 17,351
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell is the creator of The Monsters' Monster, a New York Times bestseller; Me...Jane, a Caldecott Honor Book and a New York Times bestselling picture book biography of Dr. Jane Goodall; and the award-winning picture book Art. He is also the creator of the beloved, internationally syndicated comic strip Mutts, which features the characters that star in five of his previous picture books including Wag!, The Gift of Nothing, Just Like Heaven, Hug Time, and South.

Patrick sits on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States and has won numerous awards for both Mutts and his animal welfare work. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Karen; their formerly feral cat, Not Ootie; and their adopted terrier, Amelie.

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