Picturebook Review: Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine

Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine, written by Allison Wortche and Patrice Barton (Illustrator), is a great book for children that often feel out-shined by the louder students. Rosie is a nice girl. However, her classmate Violet seems to be the best at everything. Violet is the fastest runner, highest singer in chorus, dresses the fanciest, and of course talks the loudest. The entire class seems to agree that Violet is simply the best. Rosie disagrees; but she cannot seem to top anything that Violet does. When it is time for the class to grow plants Rosie is determined to be the best gardener. Her pea plant and Violet's plant spout on the very same day. Rosie tries to cover Violet's with dirt, but when she is out sick from school Rosie feels guilty and tends to both plants. Rosie treats Violet's plant with the same love and care that she gives her own. Soon both plants are the tallest in the room and the teacher declares Rosie the best gardener that she has ever had in class. When Violet returns to school she is thrilled that her plant is the tallest. After a brief tank you to Rosie, she continues on her way describing how she had the worst chicken pox ever. Rosie and her teacher share a smile, and Rosie is happy with being the best gardener and a good person. 

Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine speaks to me, because I often feel like Rosie. Always doing my best and working my hardest to be the best me I can. However, it is often the loudest and most outgoing that gather the praise and adulation of those around them. It can get discouraging to the best of us. What I really like about this book is that Violet is not a mean girl, she is just self-centered, which is not unusual. Rosie is not a saint, she is a real girl dealing with real feelings and is offered no perfect solution. In the end the book ends with a bittersweet acknowledgement that this sort of conflict will continue to happen. There is no pat answer, with the main character receiving more than the praise do a job well done. It is something that can and will happen in real life, with Rosie taking the best route to being who she is, and a good person. The illustrations by Barton are beautiful and frankly adorable. They perfectly match the mood and lessons of the story. 

I recommend Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine to children in preschool, kindergarten, and older. It would be a great story for the classroom, for either character conversations or before an introduction to the science of seeds. Both of my children are already more outspoken than myself, so the story of a shy child did not quite hold with them as much as it did me. However, they still enjoyed the story and wanted to grow plants of their own as soon as we finished the book.
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