Cover image for Smack dab in the middle
Smack dab in the middle
Riggio, Anita.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 25 x 27 cm
Rosie is happy to be smack dab in the middle of her large family, but sometimes she feels neglected or ignored.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.9 0.5 64185.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Normally, Rosie Roselli revels in her huge family. It's twenty-eight people (including aunts, uncles, and cousins), and she's smack dab in the middle of them all. But when nobody seems to have enough time to notice all the good work she is doing at school with her teacher (Sister Celestia), Rosie decides to run away. Using humor and insight, Riggio gives a fresh retro twist to this classic dilemma. Armed with Sister Celestia's wisdom, Rosie learns she can stick up for herself in a most unique way.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS^-Gr. 1. Growing up in the middle of a large family, Rosie Roselli is often ignored. Though her teacher, Sister Celestia, appreciates her talents at school, Rosie's requests for attention at home meet with responses such as "Un momento, Rosie dear," for her parents and grandparents always seem to be attending to her siblings and cousins. When Rosie draws a picture of her tiny self in the midst of her enormous family, Sister Celestia asks her to have everyone in the picture sign it on the back. One by one, they see how small she feels and, together, they express their love with an enormous hug. Digitally combining picture elements made with India ink, gouache, cut paper, and stamps, the artwork creates a 1950s' setting with a retro look, though the layout is fresh and the vitality of the line work is timeless. The story builds to an inevitable conclusion through short scenes that contrast Rosie at school with Rosie at home. A sympathetic tale that is expressively illustrated and nicely cadenced for reading aloud. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Rosie Roselli is "smack dab in the middle" of Riggio's (Beware the Brindlebeast) uplifting tale. She has "a mother and a father, a sister and a brother, a grandma and a grandpa, a nonna and a nonno, four aunts and four uncles, and twelve cousins-six older and six younger." Each day, Rosie dashes home from school, eager to show her family the star she received for her counting project and other newly acquired skills, but always more pressing matters take precedence over her. Riggio's spreads play up the mounting tension with bold black outlines of the characters filled in with a 1950s palette (each character in a shade of chartreuse or mod pink)-except for Rosie, who always appears as a white cutout with rosy cheeks and knees. Finally, after drawing her family portrait in art class (rendering herself "the teensy-weensiest person" in the picture) and announcing to her teacher that the portrait will serve as a reminder when she runs away, the wise teacher gives her "homework": everyone in her family must sign the back of the portrait. Not surprisingly, everyone rallies around Rosie ("You are the yellow in our daisy," her aunts and uncles proclaim, "And we are the petals," her 12 cousins chime in). The story may be predictable, but the unusual style of the artwork conveys the family's warmth even through their unwitting negligence. This tale may well comfort youngsters who identify with Rosie's plight. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-As the middle child in a large extended family, Rosie Roselli sometimes feels unappreciated. When she receives a gold star from her teacher, Sister Celestia, she rushes home to show everyone, but they are too busy to pay attention. The same thing happens when she wants to play a tune on her red trumpet: "Rosie waited for her little cousin to be helped. She waited for her big cousins to be carted. She waited. And waited. But no one came back to listen. Rosie Roselli paled." When the girl draws herself as the "teensy-weensiest" person in her family portrait and says that she will "run away," Sister Celestia recognizes her sadness and gives her a special homework assignment. As each member of her family signs the back of her artwork and reassures her, the child realizes that "Maybe they do love me, even when they can't look or listen." The computer-aided color illustrations have a 1950s feel, with details such as saddle shoes, crew cuts, and yo-yos. Rosie is a delightfully spirited character with "tempo in [her] toes," and she stands out in white paper cuts against background washes of reds, greens, and yellows. Young children feeling left out and jealous of their siblings will relate to her struggles.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.