Any parent of a preschooler understands having a little one whose desire to “help” greatly outpaces his or her ability to actually do so. Rosie Winstead perfectly captures this phenomenon in her latest picture book, a tribute to little ones’ enthusiasm (if not their aptitude) for household chores.
From the moment she wakes up, Sprout is eager to help her mother, even if it means making the bed while her mom is still sleeping in it. She brushes her own teeth (and the dog’s—with Mom’s toothbrush) and does her own hair (liberally chopping off untidy bits with scissors). Sprout takes her baby sister outside to play . . . and when the two of them get covered with mud from head to toe, Sprout even throws their dirty clothes in the washing machine (from which the cat barely escapes). Sprout’s self-confidence and independence grow alongside the messes she makes, and in the end, readers will agree that “Sprout’s family is very lucky to have her, and they know it.”
The spare text, set in a winsome font, dances across delicate pages that illustrate the (barely) controlled mayhem of family life. The opening spread shows Sprout’s mother in her art studio, contemplating a blank canvas. Throughout the book, Winstead shows us a comfortably cluttered home, filled with artwork of all sorts, the kind of home where creativity is nurtured and displayed (often on the walls, with Scotch tape). Pastel-hued pencil, gauche and watercolor illustrations offer plenty of humorous details that will keep kids engaged and make adults chuckle even as they give thanks for their own little “helpers.”