Preachy and predictable, this well-intentioned effort tries too hard to convey the joy and value of creativity.
Wild Rose (her name, not a descriptor plus her name) would rather frolic in the fields with the woolly white sheep than watch her grandmother weave. She revels in the oncoming storm, dances in the rain and wades in the water, rejecting each of her grandmother’s calls to come learn how to make a rug. Grandma starts (and, improbably enough, finishes) her rug in the time Wild Rose spends outdoors. Its beauty achieves what her entreaties have not—now Wild Rose wants to learn. Stilted and abstract, the text fails to enliven the slight plot. When Wild Rose is won over, it’s because she looked at the rug and “saw life in its colors [and] felt peace in its pattern.” Wong’s illustrations, which appear to be a mix of pen and ink and watercolor, feature simply drawn figures and spare settings. They are attractive but fail to bring the characters to life. Some details suggest that perhaps Wild Rose and her grandmother are Native American, which could add interest and authenticity, but unfortunately this remains unclear.
Ultimately, neither the subject matter nor the presentation is likely to engage young listeners’ interest; they’d be better off following Wild Rose’s example and playing outside. (Picture book. 4-7)