BOOKS: 'Rosie Sprout' tells story of girl who learns compassion in face of competitionRosie is getting tired of hearing about Violet. Violet is the fastest runner, the highest singer, the loudest storyteller and the fanciest dresser on picture day.
By: JEAN PATRICK, Republic Book Columnist
Rosie is getting tired of hearing about Violet.
Violet is the fastest runner, the highest singer, the loudest storyteller and the fanciest dresser on picture day.
In “Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine,” by Allison Wortche, Rosie finds herself in a position to compete.
During the classroom’s pea plant project, Rosie’s pea plant pokes through the soil first. Violet’s plant pops up, too. Of course, Violet grabs the glory. So the next morning, Rosie gets to class first and does the unthinkable to Violet’s plant.
Rosie feels good for a few minutes.
Then, fueled by guilt and a tender heart, Rosie repairs the damage and begins to care for Violet’s plant, along with her own. Even when Violet is absent with chickenpox, Rosie waters and sings to Violet’s plant. As the days continue, both plants grow higher than the rest.
“Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine” is not a simple story, nor is Rosie a simple character. Rosie is likable and nurturing, but like all humans, she has the capacity for frustration and anger.
The ending is not simple, either. When Violet returns to school, Rosie quietly watches as Violet grabs the spotlight for her pea plant. Most readers will sense the irony, understanding the importance of Rosie’s consistent care.
Meanwhile, illustrator Patrice Barton captures the nuances of the classroom dynamics with gentle watercolors. She also adds dimension by suggesting multiple scenes on each page spread.
Barton also presents many of the classroom conversations in a graphic “comic book” format, giving the book a contemporary feeling.
She also includes nonfiction information about plant growth on the students’ papers and on the chalkboard of the classroom wall.
“Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine” is a rich book with multiple insights about individual growth and tolerance for challenging personalities.
“Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine.” By Allison Wortche. Illustrated by Patrice Barton. Knopf, 2012. 32 pp.