Big sister Sprout happily takes on any domestic duty (babysitting, housecleaning, laundry, dishes), but she leaves merry mishaps and minor misbehaviors in her wake.
Ironic narration, primly positive and perky, allows playful pictures to reveal how much (or little) Sprout really helps around her house. She brushes her teeth without being reminded and then takes care of the forgetful dog’s teeth, for instance—with her mother’s toothbrush. She conscientiously does the laundry after getting dirty—but her baby sister needs to rescue the cat from the washing machine! Simple sentences imbued with wide-eyed innocence work alongside illustrations showing Sprout’s misguided household management to winning comedic effect. Winstead’s breezy pencil, gouache and watercolor illustrations suit Sprout’s comfortable household, with its charming wallpapers, art supplies and scattered toys. Her mother, an artist, paints peripherally; a cat, dog and fish swirl at Sprout’s side; drawings and notecards flutter on the walls and floor. Pale colors and white space convey the mellow vibe, which doesn’t seem shaken even by mud disasters, a flooded kitchen or broken lamps. Only her baby sister seems truly alarmed; mother appears in open-mouthed shock only once at the close of the book. One gets the sense somehow that she shouldn’t be that surprised, as Sprout seems the teensiest bit wise to the mischief she makes.
High, sly entertainment for troublemakers and helpers alike. (Picture book. 3-6)