Mess Pets

Overview

Hannah and Hilary are two sisters who just can't agree. Hannah revels in dirty clothes and jumbled heaps while Hilary has a place for everything. But when a furry, fun-loving creature grows from the depths of Hannah's mess, a jealous Hilary steals some of her sister's gooey gobs to create a fabulous "mess pet" of her own.

Jill McElmurry's hilarious tale of two quibbling siblings and two peculiar pets takes off to a wild world where sloppy Peanut Butter and Jelly trees grow in ...

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Overview

Hannah and Hilary are two sisters who just can't agree. Hannah revels in dirty clothes and jumbled heaps while Hilary has a place for everything. But when a furry, fun-loving creature grows from the depths of Hannah's mess, a jealous Hilary steals some of her sister's gooey gobs to create a fabulous "mess pet" of her own.

Jill McElmurry's hilarious tale of two quibbling siblings and two peculiar pets takes off to a wild world where sloppy Peanut Butter and Jelly trees grow in the shadow of Dust Bunny Mountain-and where a sweet surprise and an important lesson await. Kids will adore this outrageously imaginative, unforgettable quest!

Author Biography: Jill McElmurry has also illustrated Mad About Plaid, I'm Small and Other Verses, and The Kettles Get New Clothes. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Two very different sisters learn to find a compromise between tidiness and total disarray after they share a zany adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
They may share genes and a bedroom, but twins Hilary and Hannah are polar opposites when it comes to cleanliness. This antagonistic, Oscar-and-Felix$style relationship is the genesis of a wacky fantasy about a room so messy it grows things namely, mess pets. Hannah, Hannah, garbage canna,/ fell in love with a rotten banana!/ When we asked her, How s it smell? / she said, I like it very well! taunts tidy Hilary. Plucked from the playground, McElmurry s verse rollickingly reflects the contrasting pair sometimes neat and tidy, and sometimes with nary a rhyme in sight. After setting up the conflict, McElmurry cuts loose her imagination (as she did so well in her debut book, Mad About Plaid); rather garish illustrations convey Hannah s chaotic half of the room, which spawns a fantastical, mess-loving dog. Envious, Hilary borrows some of the mess to conjure up her own cat, which then squabbles with the dog and leads the foursome into further adventures in a delightfully vile place called Mess World. There, McElmurry s funky, gouache paintings in psychedelic shades exude good humor as she portrays icky landmarks such as Spilled Milk Lagoon and Dust Bunny Mountain, inhabited by sneezing rabbits. While the freewheeling plot and busy illustrations may make some younger heads spin, those who can follow along are in for a fun ride. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Tidy Hilary shares a room with sloppy Hannah. Each twin is happy with the way she keeps her side of the bedroom, but one day something grows out of Hannah's assembled detritus-a large, hairy pet. After observing the fun her sister has with Mr. Peel, Hilary wants one of her own, so she borrows some mess and builds an incredibly tidy little garbage pyramid (one of the best visuals in the book). She chants over her creation and produces a cat that she names Tip-Top. The girls' competition to have the best pet causes both animals to run back to Mess World, and Hannah and Hilary have to work together to bring them back. Young readers may find the illustrations of the clutter, trash, and dirty laundry amusing and will identify with the siblings' rivalry. However, the complex, meandering plot seems unnecessarily long and won't hold the interest of most children.-Shara Alpern, The Free Library of Philadelphia Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
McElmurry (The Kettles Get New Clothes, p. 952, etc.) explores the fertile territory of the messes to be found in juvenile bedrooms, as well as the psychologically messy province of competitive siblings. Hannah and Hilary are identical red-headed twins who share a bedroom, feuding because Hannah is neat and organized and Hilary is hopelessly messy and downright dirty, with heaps of junk on her side of the room that include pizza crusts and dirty socks. The trash piles mysteriously produce two unusual pets, a dog-like imaginary creature named Mr. Peel for Hilary and an extra-long-tailed cat named Tip-Top for Hannah. In the strongest part of the story, the girls and their "mess pets" descend into the underworld that exists beneath messy rooms, with several humorous spreads showing map-like illustrations of fantastical formations such as Hairy Hairbrush Lane, Spilled Milk Lagoon, and Dust Bunny Mountain (complete with sneezing rabbits). When Hannah and Hilary hear their own arguments replayed by their bickering pets, they realize that compromise is in order, and a group rapprochement is achieved with a wallow in a huge banana split. The partially rhyming text is unevenly paced and the rapid transitions between the real world and the underworld are at first a little confusing, but the glories of this messy realm shouldn’t be missed. Both kids and parents on opposite sides of the clean-your-room divide will enjoy the busy details of Mess World. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587171758
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: Library Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jill McElmurry has also illustrated Mad About Plaid, I'm Small and Other Verses, and The Kettles Get New Clothes. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.

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