A Surprise for Rosie: 03/12/09
In A Surprise for Rosie by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tim Warnes, Rosie gets a birthday surprise from her father. Before she finds out what it is, she spends the whole day trying to find out what her father has planned.
The book is divided into three parts: introducing Rosie and her friends, Rosie's search for what the surprise is and then finally a day spent with her Dad enjoying her surprise. Rosie's friends are the different animals who live in the forest and the cliffside near the ocean.
Tim Warnes's cheerful illustrations are the best parts of this children's book. Rosie lives in a magical but recognizable world. The cliffs remind me a bit of the California coastline but it's probably the British coastline as Julia Rawlinson and Tim Warnes are married and living together in a rural village in southern England.
I have a couple reservations about the book. Although the story has a simplistic plot, I find it tricky to read aloud to my children. The text uses some stilted phrases and has an awkward meter (to an American ear). My second complaint is Rosie's characterization. She's described as a rabbit who has everything and likes to know everything. When her father and her friends don't tell her what she's getting for her birthday she acts like a spoiled brat trying to sneak around behind her father's back to spoil the surprise. Despite her constant whining about the present her father still gives it to her as if her behavior is normal and acceptable.