In this wordless book, a dark cloud hovers literally—and figuratively—over young Rosie’s head until she finds a special pair of eyeglasses.
Grade schooler Rosie, a snub-nosed girl with a grim, crooked line for her mouth, is sitting in her bed, a puffy, sketchy gray cloud just above her. The world is black, white, and gray. Rain spatters against her bedroom’s windowpane, and the animals in the posters cluttering her walls look equally glum. Readers soon see her mother, father, and little brother—all of whom appear to be having a rough morning. More monochrome images, some with dizzying perspective and all with a great deal of activity, continue the theme of universal unhappiness for Rosie and almost everyone she encounters. When Rosie finds a pair of glasses and puts them on, the busy-ness of the art persists, but now it is in full, loud colors, previously gloomy people and animals are suddenly happy and engaged when viewed through the specs. What does this mean? When the glasses inevitably disappear, there is age-appropriate angst, followed by an ending inviting more speculation from readers. The idea is interesting, but the artwork’s jarring, jagged lines and perspectives have a fun house–like feel, which has the perhaps-unintentional effect of speeding readers through the book. Rosie’s family is an interracial one, with a white mom and Asian dad, while Rosie’s schoolteacher and some classmates are also diverse.
Jarring art may keep readers from appreciating the book’s message. (Picture book. 3-6)