ROOTING FOR YOU
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Disney-Hyperion, March, 2014
It's time for one little seed to come out of his shell. But he's afraid. It's a big world out there. There may be dangers! (Like monsters!) There are definitely obstacles. (Like rocks!) And while there's a good deal of uncertainty, he discovers that he has friends to help guide
him on his way and root for him to have his day
in the sun.
Perfect for anyone braving . . . and celebrating . . .
"Many a reader will sympathize with this book's hero, a seed scared to emerge from the dark safety of his garden bed. 'No! No! No! I am NOT coming out!' he cries. But a bespectacled worm offers wise counsel, and ants and grubs cheer him on as he heads onward and upward and finally unfolds into glorious bloom. ROOTING FOR YOU is a cheerful alternative to Dr. Seuss's OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO for anyone ready to graduate from one stage of life to another. No fear: There's sunshine ahead."
"Part of the delight of this book is trying to figure out what is going on, which becomes progressively clearer with every well-employed foldout spread. To cut to the chase, it’s about a smiley-faced little green seed who is intent on staying right there in the cozy soil: “I am NOT coming out!” But the seed gets bored and sends out one tiny exploratory shoot—cue the foldout pages that show the root stretching until it hits a rock. A twisty worm appears, though, to help the root find its way, advising it that while there may be scary things out there, there also may be “soft warm skies” and adventures of all kinds. The green shoot finds the courage to push through, and in a final three-page-tall burst, it reaches into the sunny day to become a daisy. It’s an overall wonderful lesson in moving out of fear and inertia and into exploration and growth, with big Mo Willems–style art that makes simple shapes into highly emotive characters and backgrounds. This one will grow on you." — Connie Fletcher
"I am NOT coming out!” says a tiny lime-green seed nestled deep within the warm brown earth. Because, really, who knows what awaits in the world above? But with the encouragement of an astute, bespectacled worm (“There are friends to feed you,/ friends to weed you,/ and friends indeed/ who really need you!”) and the visual propulsion provided by a series of sweetly comic gatefolds (including one that’s both horizontal and vertical), the seed overcomes the real and perceived obstacles in its path and triumphantly assumes its role as the garden equivalent of a BMOC. …between the worm’s cheerleading and Cordell’s (hello! hello!) cheery, minimalist cartoon evocation of the underground world, the seed’s journey feels like a real accomplishment. Of course, any relationship between the seed’s emergence and that of a human baby are strictly coincidental.”
A flower-to-be, looking like a green pea and behaving just like a human preschooler, voices its fears about its inevitable transformation.
There’s the dark. (“You never know / who might be digging… / …in the DARK.”) There’s the equally scary-seeming light looming above. With bona fide impediments like rocks and spiders popping up, young readers should develop real empathy for the little plant during its complex transit. A bespectacled worm offers encouragement and reassurance, flanked by ants and beetles. “There are friends to feed you, / friends to weed you, / and friends indeed who / really need you!” A series of gatefolds serves to reinforce the sense of expansiveness of soil and, later, blue sky, as the seed-turned-sprout grows into a towering, daisylike flower. Cordell uses a flat, matte color palette of browns, greens, worm-pink and sky blue, with thick black line for details. He preserves the plant’s personality throughout its growth spurt, successively using the same pale green hue and facial expressions for the seed, sprout and the flower’s center. Hood’s rhyming text is charming, but the final gatefold, a full three pages tall, must be folded away and turned before its verse can be concluded on the final spread—a slight detraction from the flow. As sweet and benign as a summer daisy.