Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. Mr. Messy was one of her picks.
Mr. Messy really is aptly named. He lived in a messy looking house with peeling paint, broken windows, a garden gate falling off its hinges, uncut grass, random items all over the house along with an unmade bed, and a broom that he tripped on in the garden. In fact, he was so messy, he bothered my daughter. As a result, she did something that she usually did not do . . . she got her crayons out and began making things look better.
Then Mr. Messy went for a walk and found the neatest cottage he had ever seen. Outside were Mr. Clean and Mr. Neat who were tidying things up. They asked Mr. Messy if they could help him. Mr. Messy agreed, and they quickly cleaned up the outside. Then they cleaned up the inside. Then, they realized that Mr. Messy needed work, too, and they cleaned him up also. After that, Mr. Messy said that 'I'm going to have to change my name!' All three became best of friends.
For years, whenever our daughter's room would start to get messy, we would ask her if she wanted a visit from Mr. Neat and Mr. Clean. She would laugh and start picking things up.
This is a good book for helping your child learn good tidiness habits, because the consequences of the alternative become obvious in a particularly humorous way.