The Legend of Messy M'Cheany

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Overview


Meet Messy M'Cheany--when it comes to a mess, this kid is the best! However, as soon as Messy meets his new baby sister, Missy, he realizes that she does not share the same fondness for messes, but instead loves to be clean! How will he learn to get along with a sister who is so different? Kathy Lee Gifford's new rhyming picture book teaches children that though being messy is fun, changing bad habits for baby sisters and brothers is the best thing any sibling can do!
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The Legend of Messy M'Cheany

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Overview


Meet Messy M'Cheany--when it comes to a mess, this kid is the best! However, as soon as Messy meets his new baby sister, Missy, he realizes that she does not share the same fondness for messes, but instead loves to be clean! How will he learn to get along with a sister who is so different? Kathy Lee Gifford's new rhyming picture book teaches children that though being messy is fun, changing bad habits for baby sisters and brothers is the best thing any sibling can do!
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

By any standards, Messy M'Cheany earned his first name. His love of chaos keeps him happy, but lately it's become clear that his little sister Missy can share his passion for disorder. Kathie Lee Gifford's second children's picture book touches two themes that most youngsters can't ignore: neatness and getting along with siblings.

Publishers Weekly
The eponymous antihero makes Pigpen from Peanuts look like a neat freak. Not only is he "the messiest kid in town," he's also gauche and gross: "If he rode a scooter, he'd run over your toes./ He'd toot like a turkey, then he'd pick his nose./ Look, Ma, GOLD!" When his world is "girl'd" with the arrival of little sister Missy ("All pink and fluffy and powdered and clean"), Messy tries to bring Missy over to the dirt side, only to discover that he's powerless against the civilizing forces of femininity. (Falling to his knees, Messy declares, "I know I've lived the life of a bum,/ But Missy, you've taught me what I could become.") Although the premise feels lifted straight from a Judd Apatow movie (or a G-rated facsimile), it's actually based on a mock-western ballad from Gifford's 2001 kids' album, Party Animals. Alexandersen (who collaborated with Gifford on a 2010 picture book also derived from the album) contributes some spirited cartooning, but even his exaggerated characterizations can't entirely disguise a story line that's an unabashed throwback in terms of gender roles. Audio CD included. Ages 4–8. (June)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—In a singsong rhyme, Gifford tells the story of the messiest kid in town, who is legendlike in his ability to create chaos. Messy M'Cheany spills food everywhere, overturns the fishbowl, farts and then picks his nose, and has a limitless talent for attracting dirt. His parents think he's cursed, but things start to change for the cleaner when baby sister Missy arrives. She is saintlike in her desire to be clean, neat, and speak politely. "Messy burped and wouldn't say sorry./Missy said, S'cuse me, see you tomorry.'" In a final showdown, Missy shows mercy toward Messy and curtsies. It is her use of the word "please," though, that "brought Messy to his knees" and leads to his redemption. The accompanying CD contains two songs, including "The Legend of Messy M'Cheany." Unfortunately, this story works better as a song. In book form, the rhymes are often forced and awkward. The acrylic-and-ink cartoon illustrations are humorous, but overall this picture book is a marginal purchase.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews

In this pointless parable of the sexes, Victorian gender roles—portrayed as inborn—compete with poor scansion for the most awkward element. From sentence one, the verse forces words where they don't fit: "Come on, children, gather 'roun', / And I'll tell you a tale of the worst kid in town." Messy M'Cheany revels in chaos and dirt. He tornadoes through life, happy and sometimes funny—"His mother would bathe him, then put him to bed... / And somehow he'd wake up with dirt on his head." Then a baby sister arrives, "pink and fluffy and powdered and clean" (really?), and becomes the voice of tidiness. "Messy tried to teach Missy how to be dirty, / But she only liked to dress up and be purty." Using curtsies and manners, Missy wins their Wild West showdown: "Messy said 'Never.' / Missy said 'Please.' / And that 'please' brought Messy to his knees." Morality's on her side—Messy was "a bum" before. Lest readers see individual characters rather than generalized sex roles, the text cements gender's yoke: "Messy thought he was king of the world / Till one day he discovered his world had been 'girl'd.' " A full faux-Indian warbonnet (as costume) adds racial stereotype. Alexandersen's cartoonish illustrations are energetic but forgettable. The egocentric ending—"Missy M'Cheany grew up to be... ME!"—panders to Gifford's adult fans. Skip. (CD unheard)(Picture book. 4-6)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762441372
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Kathie Lee Gifford has enjoyed a four decade career in the entertainment and publishing worlds as an actress, singer, playwright, songwriter, and author. She currently co-hosts the fourth hour of the Today Show on NBC. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, and two dogs, Louis and Lola.
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    Posted July 5, 2011

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