Rosie is pretty secure in her own skin, but, just once, she wants to be better than her classmate Violet at something.
Violet runs fastest, sings highest, tells the loudest stories and looks fanciest. When Rosie tires of Violet’s perfection, her jealousy gets the best of her. Competition tightens when both girls’ pea plants sprout at the same time, but Violet loudly claims the sprouting crown. Rose can’t take it anymore and heaps soil on Violet's sprout, claiming her pea plant to be the best. Her happiness doesn’t last long. When her conscience nags at her and Violet comes down with a case of chicken pox, Rosie does what she needs to do to both salve her conscience and keep Violet’s plant alive. Readers will wonder why “everyone” allows Violet her reign of perfection—the sunny, digitally created watercolor illustrations show a self-congratulatory little braggart who never thinks about others. Rosie, who is a perfectly wonderful little girl, does learn to be kinder (or at least not to sabotage a classmate's project), but the ending doesn't satisfy, and the lesson feels muddled. Rosie works hard to grow two great plants, but Violet can barely acknowledge the effort. Only Rosie and the strangely disengaged teacher, Ms. Willis, seem to know how much work Rosie did.
A confusing, if visually attractive offering. (Picture book. 5-8)