'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 8 July 2010

Review: Jake's Monster Mess

Title: Jake's Monster Mess

Author: Ken Spillman

Illustrator: Chris Nixon

Publisher: Fremantle Press, $10.95RRP

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781921696039

For ages: 5-8

Type: Junior Fiction

About: Jake's Monster Mess can be summed up in a single word, three times - cute cute cute! Although that might sound trite and the author may be horrified by such a summation, let me explain.

Jake is asked to tidy up his room before some guests arrive for a dinner party, and, being the adorable little boy that he is, Jake assures his Dad he's on the job. When Nana hands him a pile of clothes to put away in his drawers ('and don't just throw them into drawers' says Nana - oh how many times I've uttered that same statement), Jake heads to his room with his small pile and decides he might as well tidy all his drawers while he's at it.

So he empties his underwear drawer first. Then all his other drawers. And very soon he has a small, quite overwhelming cloth mountain. So he needs to make a list to help sort things out. But first he needs to make a space in his closet. Maybe he could sell some toys! He tugs at a sword in his closet and everything tumbles down on top of his clothing mountain.

Then of course he needs to make space on the floor. He has to move his bed... but it's too heavy. Maybe if he moves his mattress agains the door first...

This gorgeous chaotic storyline goes from mess to monster mess in this delightful tale for younger chapter book readers. Spillman knows how to encapture children and their quirks and everyday experiences with an honesty that will have both adults and kids nodding and smiling.

At only 48 pages, it's not overwhelming and Nixon's gorgeous and emotive illustrations beautifully showcase the humour of this story that just typifies one of the many simple and charming elements of everyday childhood. Like I said - cute cute cute!

Others in this series:
Jake's Gigantic List (2009)
Teaching notes

This book is available online