cover image Fritz and the Mess Fairy: 5

Fritz and the Mess Fairy: 5

Rosemary Wells. Dial Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0981-2

Not unlike the star of Wells's enchanting Max books, Fritz, a disheveled young skunk, has a knack for finding trouble. Fritz's mischief is of the messy sort: when asked to clean his room, he stuffs under the bed a month's worth of laundry, dirty dishes, spoons and piles of old Halloween candy. At dinner he throws peas and raisins on the floor and slips potatoes under his seat cushion. But the messiest coup of all occurs when Fritz attempts a project for the science fair. He mixes together some unlikely ingredients, and ``a once-in-a-lifetime chemical change'' makes the Mess Fairy appear. Kids will relish the fact that the chaos created by this bewitching character makes Fritz look like the rankest amateur in the slob department. An unexpected twist caps this spirited tale, illustrated with Wells's distinctive watercolors that brim with droll details. As ever, her childlike sensibilities and zany sense of humor are perfectly on target. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)