Friday, October 3, 2008

The Messy Family

The Messy Family by Katherine Pebley O'Neal and Laura Huliska-Beith will strike a chord in many households.
The book begins by showing the Messy family busy cleaning the house because company is coming. There are dishes in the sink, laundry in the dining room, toys all over the living room, and dust everywhere. Mr. and Mrs. Messy stash dishes in the closets. The Messy twins tuck toys under the couch. When one of the twins opens his closet, everything falls out on top of him. But in the middle of this cleaning chaos, one of the twins notices a neat spider web in one corner. The boys stop to admire it. Later, one of the twins discovers their cat had kittens under the bed. Who knew? Mrs. Messy says, "Who knows how many of God's creatures may be making their homes with us."
Then the family realizes it's time to go to the twins' soccer game and attend to other chores, like working on "habitat housing," giving donations to the city shelter, and helping an elderly couple stranded beside the road. Before they know it, company has arrived, and Mrs. Messy apologizes for the state of the house. The guests reply, "Not to worry. We love your home because we always feel so welcome here." They bless the food and have a wonderful visit together. One of the guests offers to help with the ever-growing pile of dishes...but Mrs. Messy suggests visiting the new kittens instead.
What I Like: In a world where many mothers strive to create a Martha Stewart perfect house, but feel guilty because they cannot, a book like The Messy Family is sorely needed. Without preaching, it emphasizes there are far more important things than a spotless house: Helping others tops that list, as does sharing quality time with family and friends. The Messy's have a balanced attitude about cleanliness and living a full life.Huliska-Beith's illustrations compliment O'Neal's text beautifully. They are colorful, a little wacky, and full of humor. I'll bet many moms will get more than a few chuckles out of this picture book.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher 4 - 8, but my three year old love it, too.
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2008; ISBN: 0310709857; hard back; $12.99
Buy it Now from for $9.99
OR buy from for $11.04

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