Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: 'My Messy Closet' a delightful children's book

Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— "Clean up your room!"

Kids hate to hear those four words. Parents dread saying them because they know the hard part is make their children follow through with the order.

So, if it's time for your kids to clean their rooms, share this delightful book with them first. It may just help all of you look at room cleaning in a more humorous way.

"My Messy Closet: A Totally Gross Flap Book" was written by Allia Zobel Nolan and illustrated by Maryn Roos. It's a Reader's Digest Children's Book that I think may appeal to children as old as 8 years (or maybe older).

The book was written so that it's all in rhyme, which makes it all that more fun. A child needs to be able to read words like "reeked" and "skittered," so it isn't an easy-to-read book. What fun it would be to read the book to younger children.

The back page of the book has a stand-out, built-in frame three quarters of the way around it. It's the closet's frame. (A snail crawls around the door frame and several bugs are flying around it, too.)

Except for the cover page, the rest of the book's pages, cut into various sizes, fit into the frame. As the reader opens the pages, one layer after another of the closet's contents are revealed, and some of them are very interesting.

And that's not all! Making the book intriguing for kids are the pages' flaps that, when opened, reveal some pretty gross things.

The book is printed on durable board, which is great because it's guaranteed that readers will turn the pages and open the flaps lots of times. The illustrations are in bright colors.

As the book opens, Mother is standing beside an open closet door. She's smiling.

"This closet is a mess, young man," said Mom. "It's getting out of hand. Now clean it up, then let it air."

Her son, who appears to be about 8 years old, tells the rest of the story. He begins tossing things out of the closet. In front of some coats on hangers, there's a box marked "winter clothes," a fishing pole and a pair of lost hiking boots.

The hiking boots reek of smelly socks and of weeds, and there are seeds stuck to the boots' tongues. When the reader opens a flap over one of the hiking boots, a smiling centipede with one eye crawls out.

And the book continues in this manner, revealing some incredible (sometimes smelly) contents. Way in the back of the closet there's a big surprise.

Challenge your kids to find interesting (maybe gross) things in their rooms, perhaps buried under their beds.

"My Messy Closet" is published by Reader's Digest Children's Books (2007). ISBN-13: 978-0-7944-1308-8 or ISBN-10: 0-7944-1308-0

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