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Mrs. McKeown's Poetry
Picture Book Poem

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Introduction:
I felt very at home with this wonderfully illustrated picture book. It reminded me a lot of how my son cleans his room. Ask your students to reflect about someone who they know who always has a messy room.

Clean Your Room Harvey Moon

On Saturday Morning at ten to nine
Harvey Moon was eating toast,
Waiting for the cartoon show
That he enjoyed most.

With only minutes left to go,
He heard the voice of DOOM.
"Today, young man," his mother said,
"Is the day you clean your room!"

"Not nowwwww..." moaned Harvey,
Red in the face.
"I'll miss 'Rotten Ed'
And 'Invaders from Space'!"

"Right this second!" she ordered,
And gave him the broom.
Harvey marched angrily
Up to his room.

It really didn't seem
Messy at all.
First he'd throw his dirty clothes
Out in the hall.

Under the bed was
An ice cream-smeared shirt,
Jeans that had what Mom called
"Ground-in dirt."

Two towels and swim trunks
That seemed to be wet,
Three socks he sniffed
And found weren't dirty yet.

Under the dresser was a lump
Warm and gray,
That he didn't recognize
So he put it away.

The floor of the closet had clumps
Hard and dirty
Of T-shirts and sweatshirts
IT WAS TEN-THIRTY!

Harvey panicked then thought,
"I should be through soon,
I'll eat lunch while I watch
'Creature Zero' at noon."

Grabbing marbles and crayons and
Flat bottle caps,
Two of his own special
Lightning bug traps,

The softball he couldn't find
Last Saturday,
One toothbrush, one helmet,
He put them away.

"I'll clear out these toys
And then I'll be done,
'Ken's Kung Fu Korner"
Will be on at one."

Under his desk were some comics
All icky
From something inside
That was dripping and sticky.

He found library books
He'd forgotten he had,
His skates from Aunt Sarah,
His bow tie from dad.

He found a caboose
That was missing its train,
A whistle, paintbrushes,
A map of the brain.

He found sneakers and card games
Up under the bed,
Goggles, flippers, and grasshopper
dead.

A long-lost cookie
All fuzzy and gray,
Plastic cars, boats, and planes
And he put them away.

Just then Harvey happened
To notice the clock
"IT'S ALMOST TWO!" Harvey shouted.
He went into shock.

"I missed "Caveman Capers"
On channel nine
I'm starving! I'm tired!
This room looks fine!"

He put up his bathrobe,
His bat, and football,
With a few other things
Then ran down the hall.

Shouting, "Mom, I'm finished!"
Harvey put back the broom.
His mother stepped cautiously
Into his room.

"I am really amazed", his mom said.
Harvey beamed.
He could watch TV now. He was throught,
So it seemed.

"I fixed you some lunch", she said.
"When you are done,
You and I will get started
On lump number one!"
--Pat Cummings-- (1991)

Publisher- Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

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Extension:
Have the students draw a picture of their rooms and have them explain whether they think they keep their rooms like Harvey Moon or do they keep them neat as a pin? Once they have decided, they can write a short story about how clean their room is. Once they complete the story, challenge them to break up the story into poetic verse.