cover image Rolling Rose

Rolling Rose

James Stevenson. Greenwillow Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10674-4

Stevenson ( Could Be Worse! ; July ) is at his exuberant best in this waggish tale about a toddler who escapes from the confines of her house by rolling gaily out the door in her yellow walker. The plot begins plausibly enough as Rose watches ``the leaves tremble'' and sees the ``shadows slide over the grass,'' but Stevenson's penchant for whimsy and exaggeration escalates as fast-moving Rose is joined by 84 other babies in identical vehicles. A cross between amiable Hell's Angels and runaway gingerbread men, the babies thunder down the street ``rattling the windows''until dark clouds literally rain on their parade. Like the parents in Heide's The Shrinking of Treehorn , Rose's family doesn't notice what has happened to its child, and when Rose rolls home, she is simply and lovingly tucked into bed. Stevenson's larky, accelerando verse is perfectly matched by his lively watercolor and pen-and-ink cartoons--as gratifying as the book's perfectly happy ending. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)