Anita Riggio, . . Putnam, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23700-3

Rosie Roselli is "smack dab in the middle" of Riggio's (Beware the Brindlebeast) uplifting tale. She has "a mother and a father, a sister and a brother, a grandma and a grandpa, a nonna and a nonno, four aunts and four uncles, and twelve cousins—six older and six younger." Each day, Rosie dashes home from school, eager to show her family the star she received for her counting project and other newly acquired skills, but always more pressing matters take precedence over her. Riggio's spreads play up the mounting tension with bold black outlines of the characters filled in with a 1950s palette (each character in a shade of chartreuse or mod pink)—except for Rosie, who always appears as a white cutout with rosy cheeks and knees. Finally, after drawing her family portrait in art class (rendering herself "the teensy-weensiest person" in the picture) and announcing to her teacher that the portrait will serve as a reminder when she runs away, the wise teacher gives her "homework": everyone in her family must sign the back of the portrait. Not surprisingly, everyone rallies around Rosie ("You are the yellow in our daisy," her aunts and uncles proclaim, "And we are the petals," her 12 cousins chime in). The story may be predictable, but the unusual style of the artwork conveys the family's warmth even through their unwitting negligence. This tale may well comfort youngsters who identify with Rosie's plight. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)