A Perfectly Messed-Up Story is a children’s book written by Patrick McDonnell. This book tracks the story of Louie, a young boy in pajamas. Except that his story is interrupted when splotches of jam, peanut butter, crayon marks, and more clutter the pages and ruin his storytelling. Louie becomes upset and decides he’s not going to tell his story anymore: “Who would eat a jelly sandwich while reading MY book?”
The illustrations in the book are really creative and fun to look at, and it’s interesting that Louie speaks right to the reader, like they are the one interrupting his story. He thinks no one will want to read his story because it’s messy. In the end, Louie realizes he is just fine despite the messiness, and says, “You’re still reading. And it IS a pretty good story, messes and all.”
How can parents use this book?
It could be fun to guess what will happen on the next page! As Louie tries to tell his story, on nearly each page there is a new stain or splatter that he has to deal with. This book also reminds kids and parents that we should respect books, because they teach us various lessons and give us insight into ourselves. Parents can read the book to their children and then point out how things might get messy at times, but they will turn out just fine. The moral of this story is learning to deal with messiness, or not having things perfect all the time. This is an important realization for kids as they grow older and take on more responsibilities, especially around adapting to changes.
You can search for the title in Burnaby or Vancouver public libraries at: