cover image Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine

Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine

Allison Wortche, illus. by Patrice Barton. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86721-7

Rosie’s classmate Violet has what is charitably known as a strong personality. “She was the loudest storyteller at lunchtime. And she looked the fanciest on picture day,” writes Wortche, in an accomplished debut. “Violet was definitely the best. And everyone agreed. Except Rosie.” Matters come to a head when everyone in class has to grow a pea plant; Rosie approaches the assignment with geeky devotion, while Violet sees it as one more opportunity to hog the spotlight. In the pages that follow, Rosie discovers just how much Violet has gotten under her skin, but she also learns that she’s on the radar of someone who really matters. In lesser hands, this could be just another life lesson, but Wortche possesses both a refreshing directness and a willingness to trust her readers. She also has the courage to conclude not with reconciliation, but with a bittersweet and profoundly wise acknowledgment that it takes all kinds. This impressive new author is well served by Barton (Mine!), whose digital classroom sketches convey a tumult of emotion and have just the right amounts of energy and vulnerability. Ages 5–9. (Dec.)