Ebbeler, Jeffrey

A Giant Mess

(2) K-3 I Like to Read: Comics series. In this beginning reader in comic format, a kid named Molly pouts when instructed to clean up her toys. She is soon distracted by the sight--and sound--of a Hulkish green giant stomping outside. The giant, named Jack, is also a child; Jack plays with Molly's home, neighborhood, and even Molly herself as if everything were a toy, moving items and people around haphazardly. After the giant ignores his parents' call to tidy up and join them for a picnic, Molly eventually stands up to Jack: "Stop! This is a giant mess! This is your mess. You must pick it up." Jack reluctantly follows Molly's direction, but runs away before the job is complete, leaving some silly visual surprises for readers to discover. The narrative is told exclusively through sequential art, rendered digitally with a clean line, purposeful paneling, and a vivid palette. Humor abounds in the visual imagery; for example, Jack mistakes a construction vehicle for a dragon and is shown shoving items under the grass. Parts of the dialogue repeat through the characters' parallel stories, and word balloons afford beginning readers an opportunity to read with the comfort of hefty white space. Sound effects and exclamations written outside of balloons add detail but might be challenging for some new readers to follow. At story's end, Molly offers to assist with the remaining mess, encouraging us to consider the character's (possible) growth: "Mom! Can you help?"


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