cover image The Perfectly Orderly House

The Perfectly Orderly House

Ellen Kindt McKenzie. Henry Holt & Company, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-1946-9

A fastidious pack-rat all her life, an Old Woman decides she must organize all her possessions-and what better way than alphabetically? Her brother offers to help, and soon has built her a ``perfectly orderly house'' that sprawls into a monstrosity of rooms, each one designated by a different letter. The plan seems a great success-until the Old Woman has a party and the preparation and celebration demonstrate the difficulties of the new household arrangement. McKenzie's (Stargone John) inventive premise falls short of real excitement as she tries to negotiate a fine line between fantasy and reality. The enormous house and the Old Woman's logic about organizing things often border on the ridiculous while the problems she faces in the process are very recognizable. Children will enjoy the silliness quotient, helped along by Lloyd's (The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything) whimsical artwork, tightly rendered in colored ink. For example, Lloyd comically builds on the text by filling the Waiting Room with Women who wear White and eat Watermelon-providing plenty of opportunity for identification fun. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)