Academic journal article Language Arts

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

Academic journal article Language Arts

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

Article excerpt

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell Little, Brown, 2014, unpaged, ISBN 978-0- 316- 22258- 7

For in his heart, Louie knew everything was just . . . perfectly messed up. Caldecott Honor winner Patrick McDonnell artfully and humorously changes Little Louie's perfect story to A Perfectly Messed-Up Story, and Louie has something to say about that. Readers will feel Little Louie's exasperation as he deals with endless fingerprint smudges, peanut butter and jelly stains, and blurred crayon scribbles that appear to disrupt the story he wants to tell. With exaggerated facial expressions and speech bubble text in all caps, McDonnell conveys Louie's desperation and anxiety. Scans of real peanut butter and jelly stains and other materials make it easy for readers to feel Louie's despair. It is not every day one comes across such intentional stains in a book, stains that made even this reader stop for a moment to make sure she hadn't ruined a perfect story herself. …

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