Sunday, May 23, 2010

There's always room

These two books came out within a few months of each other. I don't know if the publishers knew of the other book or were surprised by the coincidence, but they do go to the point that there is always room for more than one take on a subject.

How to Clean Your Room by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by David Leonard is, as you would expect, a poet's take on the child's chore.
First, wade through the clutter of color like an artist. . . what a lovely mess. Next stop at the books teetering by the bed, tottering with words, worlds you have read about, pages you have danced in. . .
Spinelli's version (complete with flaps and other surprises) focuses on the dreams and memories a bedroom holds. Her room cleaning is more about stopping to live in the moment than about orderliness. The point, she says, is  "to feather-dust the corners of yourself slowly."

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps by Jennifer Larue Huget and Edward Koren is far less reverential. Its humor comes from the practical advice of one non-neatnik to another. The first rule of room cleaning is "Always wait until your mother hollers, 'GET UP THERE AND CLEAN YOUR ROOM—NOW!' using all three of your names." And tips include things like, “Pizza crusts may be munched on if they're less than a month old.”

For the orderly parent, perhaps neither book encourages the level of clean that would satisfy the organization experts on Clean House. But both are good books with valid perspectives. I loved Spinelli's, with its more flattering take on the creative mess we live in around here, but know children who would love each one.

I'm glad the publishing world, and our bookshelves, have room for both.

At least until the next big round of cleaning.