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Title: Tidy

Author/Illustrator: Emily Gravett

Age Group: 2-6

Synopsis: Caught up in his love of tidying Pete, the badger, takes his obsession to a level that could be catastrophic for the forest.

The Low Down:

I can very easily get caught up in things that are not as important as the attention I’m giving them. The worst is when we’re having company come stay with us. My husband calls those 24 hours before guests arrive, “The Danger Zone.” I can go from 0-60 in a matter of seconds and have been known to get down on my knees to try and scrub under the oven. Because when I stay at someone else’s home I always look under the oven… sigh. Sometimes the house ends up clean but I’m in such a terrible mood that I’ve snapped at everyone who’s not reading my mind. I’ve gotten better but I think Tidy tackles this exact issue. Becoming overwhelmingly focused on the act without seeing how our actions affect those around us.

The front cover is amazing with a fabulous cutout, that takes the reader through the forest and introduces us to Pete. Pete clearly has an OCD problem. He wants to keep the forest tidy but the leaves and underbrush make that impossible. So he gets rid of them all. But then the trees look bare. So out they go too. In the end, Pete paves the entire forest and can’t get into his home under the ground. Spending a long, hungry, uncomfortable night in a cement mixer brings everything into focus and Pete sets out to right his mistake. With the help of all his friends, he puts everything back together and promises to control his tidying tendencies.

Gravett does another spectacular job of using perspective and color to help the reader really understand where Pete is coming from and follow his path of self growth. His dismay as he looks into the sky watching the leaves fall, his pride as he stands triumphantly upon a mountain of trash bags, and his despair as he realizes the consequences of his actions are so expressively portrayed that young ones will easily follow along and empathize with Pete. It’s full of humorous scraggly critters and industrious ants creeping along the pages, giving it just a touch more character. Tidy also introduces the concept of deforestation. And if your reader is a bit bigger provides a great illustration of actions and consequences. Which is something we all can be reminded of sometimes, young or no.

Story Tips:

  1. Keep an eye on those silly rabbits throughout the story. They get up to some crazy antics.
  2. Don’t forget to check out the end papers. They are sweet and funny.

I need more!

We love Emily Gravett. Check out our other reviews (Blue Chameleon and Orange, Pear, Apple Bear) for more info on her and about other stories by her that we love.

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