Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest

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Overview

There's nobody in the world as messy as Sophie. Just ask her older sister Olivia, who is, of course, perfectly neat. When Olivia opens the door to Sophie's room, it's hard to find her amid all the stuff on the floor and spilling out of Sophie's drawers and closet. And it's not just in her room that Sophie is messy. It's at school, on Halloween, and even when she makes breakfast in bed for her mother on Mother's Day.

Listen to Olivia. She's an older sister and she knows: Sophie ...

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Overview

There's nobody in the world as messy as Sophie. Just ask her older sister Olivia, who is, of course, perfectly neat. When Olivia opens the door to Sophie's room, it's hard to find her amid all the stuff on the floor and spilling out of Sophie's drawers and closet. And it's not just in her room that Sophie is messy. It's at school, on Halloween, and even when she makes breakfast in bed for her mother on Mother's Day.

Listen to Olivia. She's an older sister and she knows: Sophie is not just messy. She is super-completely and totally the MESSIEST. Oh...there are some good things about Sophie, too. She's kind and nice and funny and great at puzzles and dancing. But Olivia is willing to bet her best bracelet that Sophie will never be practically perfect, like her.

Judith Viorst's totally messy Sophie and oh-so-virtuous Olivia will speak to slobs and neatniks alike. Robin Preiss Glasser's wonderful drawings, full of delicious details, bring both of these sisters to vibrant life.

Olivia, who is very neat and practically perfect, despairs because her sister Sophia is super-completely and totally the messiest person, no matter where she goes or what she does.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Regardless of whether your children are neatniks or slobs, they will love the underlying conflict and disaster potential in Judith Viorst's Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest, a tale of two sisters with highly disparate personalities. The voice of the story, elder sibling Olivia, grumbles on about her ultra-messy and klutzy younger sister, Sophie, whose haphazard lifestyle and disregard for neatness are the bane of Olivia's existence. Sophie does try to be more like her neatnik older sister. Yet despite the insistent but gentle badgering of her entire family, Sophie seems destined to exist amidst clutter and calamity.

Young readers will likely find themselves captivated by Sophie's irrepressible energy and enthusiasm. And to keep things in balance, Olivia does finally concede that Sophie has some good qualities, too. Adding to the fun are the illustrations by Glasser -- pen-and-ink drawings with comic subtleties and carefully placed splashes of bright color. The pictures are so busy with the details of Sophie's cluttered, messy existence -- from the overflowing drawers in her dresser to the strange things that get trapped inside her wild, unruly hair -- that they alone can provide hours of entertainment. (Beth Amos)

Publishers Weekly
The title of this slender tale describes a girl who is as clumsy as she is messy. "Her antics will surely elicit grins and perhaps even giggles from young readers," according to PW. Ages 4-7. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The title of this slender tale from the team behind Alexander, Who's Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move describes Sophie, who is as clumsy as she is messy. Sophie's neat-as-a-pin, "practically perfect" older sister, Olivia, characterizes Sophie in an intermittently humorous, yet rather tedious, litany of her disheveled sibling's mishaps. Glasser's animated artwork delivers much of the comedy; the cartoonish illustrations capture both Sophie's unruly appearance and behavior with an appealing, light touch and always convey the girl's big heart. Kid-tickling detail abounds in such images as the copious contents of Sophie's closet spilling out and entirely burying the child, and Sophie painting a self-portrait literally on her classroom desk (the legs of which sport her yellow rubber boots). Glasser handles Sophie's cluttered world with aplomb, using pen-and-ink to outline her surroundings and a judicious touch of watercolor to keep readers' focus on the relevant action. Yet the single-themed narrative becomes repetitious. The greatest strength of the volume is the loving family's acceptance of Sophie's many quirks and their obvious affection for her. Though Sophie may not have the staying power of Viorst's perennially popular Alexander, her antics will surely elicit grins—and perhaps even giggles—from young readers. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Our rather self-righteous narrator, Olivia, despairs at the incredible messiness of her little sister Sophie. At home, in school, at parties, the beach, the circus, or a farm, Sophie can cause incredible confusion in no time at all. Olivia and her mother and father keep trying to remind Olivia how not to mess up, but "she forgets." In describing one wild catastrophe after another, Olivia makes us smile at her lovable but disaster-prone sister. Glasser's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations are appropriately frenetic. The jacket/cover of prim Olivia watching Sophie in action barely hints at the awesome destructive force generated by this angelic-looking demon. Much of the drawing is produced in black outline so that color can really demonstrate the chaos only suggested in the text. 2001, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, . Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Olivia emphatically states that her younger sister, Sophie, is the messiest human being around and proceeds to tell of the chaos that her sibling creates. Glasser's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are full of inviting detail. They show Sophie's closet contents; a bedroom impassible with toys, clothes, and artistic creations; numerous experimental doll projects gone awry; mishaps at the beach and farm; and always the exuberant Sophie who tries, really tries, to be more like the neat and nearly perfect Olivia. While the younger child works her havoc outside the boundaries of acceptable (and believable) behavior, the narrator hastens to add that dad says that Sophie is smart and funny; their older brother adds that she's great at dancing and puzzles; and mom says that Sophie's really a kind and nice person. It's all pure fun with an undertone of acceptance that's positively reassuring, and maybe even a little bit encouraging, to creative clutzes and anyone else who has ever messed up while messing around.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Viorst's tale of two sisters comically captures the vast diversity in personality that can exist between siblings. Olivia, the narrator and older of the two, regales readers with the misadventures of her younger sibling, Sophie. Olivia is neat while Sophie is decidedly not—and therein lies the source of potential discord. Like a seasoned attorney, Olivia presents her case to the reader, offering, albeit unintentionally, one more hilarious tale after another in an attempt to depict Sophie's haphazard existence. A quintessential pre-adolescent, Olivia's diatribe is liberally sprinkled with youthful exuberance and exaggeration, containing fine examples of sibling disdain."No, I'm NOT a rude person. I would never, ever, EVER call Sophie a pig. I'm only saying that PIGS think Sophie's a pig." While addressing readers in a chummy, just-between-us manner, Olivia's tone comes across rather overbearing and superior. Yet here too Viorst has taken a page from real life, for what older sibling doesn't harbor some feelings of superiority over their hapless younger relations? However, the vivacious Sophie is truly irrepressible, enthusiastically charging forward to embrace life's offerings, and even Olivia ultimately has to acknowledge her younger sister's nobler attributes. Finely detailed with a keen comic undertone, Glasser's drawings are a perfect fit for Viorst's wry tale. Pen-and-ink drawings come to life with vivid splashes of watercolors, which fill in only certain portions of the illustrations. Brimming with an abundance of visual sallies, these pages are as much fun for readers to examine as to hear. While cleaning fanatics will empathize with Olivia, the rest of the population will belonging to make the lively, free-spirited Sophie their new best friend. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689829413
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.85 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Viorst was born and brought up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, moved to Greenwich Village, and has lived in Washington, DC, since 1960, when she married Milton Viorst, a political writer. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. Viorst writes in many different areas: science books, children’s picture books, adult fiction and nonfiction, poetry for children and adults, and musicals, which are still performed on stages around the country. She is best known for her beloved picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Robin Preiss Glasser is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series, written by Jane O’Connor; America: A Patriotic Primer, A is for Abigail, and Our Fifty States by Lynne Cheney, and Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. She lives in Southern California with her family.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2001

    Satirical Put-Down of the Clumsy by the Neat

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2001

    Viorst produces another masterpiece!

    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!

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