cover image Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest

Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest

Judith Viorst. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82941-3

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.)