Cover image for Mess pets
Mess pets
McElmurry, Jill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : SeaStar Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Two very different sisters learn to find a compromise between tidiness and total disarray after they share a zany adventure.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 0.5 64298.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Newstead Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Clearfield Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Collins Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
East Aurora Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Audubon Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Hannah and Hilary are two sisters who just can't agree. Hannah revels in dirty clothes and jumbled heaps while Hilary has a place for everything. But when a furry, fun-loving creature grows from the depths of Hannah's mess, a jealous Hilary steals some of her sister's gooey gobs to create a fabulous "mess pet" of her own.

Jill McElmurry's hilarious tale of two quibbling siblings and two peculiar pets takes off to a wild world where sloppy Peanut Butter and Jelly trees grow in the shadow of Dust Bunny Mountain--and where a sweet surprise and an important lesson await. Kids will adore this outrageously imaginative, unforgettable quest!

Author Notes

Jill McElmurry was born in Los Angeles, California on November 3, 1954. She studied art at the State University of New York at Purchase and the School of Visual Arts in New York. She worked for 20 years illustrating magazines, book covers, posters, and design projects for clients in the United States and Germany.

She went on to become a children's author and illustrator. Her first book, Mad About Plaid, was published in 2000. She illustrated more than 20 picture books including four of which she also wrote. She illustrated The Tree Lady written by Joseph Hopkins and the Little Blue Truck series written by Alice Schertle. She later became painter. She sold more than 60 paintings of New Mexican and Northern Minnesotan landscapes. She died from breast cancer on August 3, 2017 at the age of 62.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

They may share genes and a bedroom, but twins Hilary and Hannah are polar opposites when it comes to cleanliness. This antagonistic, Oscar-and-Felix$style relationship is the genesis of a wacky fantasy about a room so messy it grows things namely, mess pets. Hannah, Hannah, garbage canna,/ fell in love with a rotten banana!/ When we asked her, How s it smell? / she said, I like it very well! taunts tidy Hilary. Plucked from the playground, McElmurry s verse rollickingly reflects the contrasting pair sometimes neat and tidy, and sometimes with nary a rhyme in sight. After setting up the conflict, McElmurry cuts loose her imagination (as she did so well in her debut book, Mad About Plaid); rather garish illustrations convey Hannah s chaotic half of the room, which spawns a fantastical, mess-loving dog. Envious, Hilary borrows some of the mess to conjure up her own cat, which then squabbles with the dog and leads the foursome into further adventures in a delightfully vile place called Mess World. There, McElmurry s funky, gouache paintings in psychedelic shades exude good humor as she portrays icky landmarks such as Spilled Milk Lagoon and Dust Bunny Mountain, inhabited by sneezing rabbits. While the freewheeling plot and busy illustrations may make some younger heads spin, those who can follow along are in for a fun ride. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Tidy Hilary shares a room with sloppy Hannah. Each twin is happy with the way she keeps her side of the bedroom, but one day something grows out of Hannah's assembled detritus-a large, hairy pet. After observing the fun her sister has with Mr. Peel, Hilary wants one of her own, so she borrows some mess and builds an incredibly tidy little garbage pyramid (one of the best visuals in the book). She chants over her creation and produces a cat that she names Tip-Top. The girls' competition to have the best pet causes both animals to run back to Mess World, and Hannah and Hilary have to work together to bring them back. Young readers may find the illustrations of the clutter, trash, and dirty laundry amusing and will identify with the siblings' rivalry. However, the complex, meandering plot seems unnecessarily long and won't hold the interest of most children.-Shara Alpern, The Free Library of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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