More Or Less A Mess Paperback – Feb 1997
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Gr. 1^-2. A mother tells her daughter to clean her cluttered room, but the child doesn't know quite how to do it. First she piles up all her stuff together, then she sorts it by color, then by function, then by where it belongs. Hearing her mother climb the stairs, she desperately shoves all the piles under the covers of her suspiciously lumpy bed. Narrated by the girl, the story unfolds in rhyming verses that bounce along in a pleasant way, providing gentle humor that readers will enjoy. With clean lines and clear colors, the illustrations add to the fun. Appended to the story is a section of activities and Marilyn Burns' advice to parents and teachers on using them with children. Suggestions include retelling the story and playing several games based on sorting and patterns. It's a lot to pack into a short book, but children will enjoy the story, and the cover illustration of the girl in her messy room has definite child appeal. Carolyn Phelan
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In the story, a little girl is asked to clean her room. She tries to be organized about it and attempts to sort her things in various ways. First she tries a single big pile, which collapses, and then she tries an evenly distributed layer, which turns out to be too difficult to move around in.
From there she tries to sort by function and color. But there always seem to be items that don't fit the categories. In the end, she even tries the keep, give away, and sell system. But as all of us know, little kids treasure every little nick-nack regardless of whether they ever play with it, and when her mom comes up to find out how she is doing, the little girl ends up shoving everything under her bed.
Besides the story you will find the following:
A Note to Parents (gives caregivers some advice on how to use the book)
About the Activities (a note about the following activities and games, all of which can be done with items at home)
-- Retelling the Storytelling - this activity asks thought provoking questions
-- The Sorting Game - use household items to practice sorting
-- A Kitchen Guessing Game - sorting with cans game
-- Word Sorting (a game) - this one's for older children who can read and write
-- Line Up (a game) - you'll sort paper shapes with this one
Four Stars. Good Read-Aloud. Colorful humorous artwork. The rhyme is pleasant and both of my children (boy and girl; just turned 5 and 7 respectively) liked the story and the problem solving aspects of it. The publisher provides generous notes for adults about what the book is teaching and how to build upon it. Reading level will probably suit advanced first graders in this mom's opinion. That said, I would disagree with the K thru Second Grade recommendations. Instead I would suggest that this book is preschool thru K.
Good edu-tainment here. I will certainly be on the lookout for more Hello Math Readers.