Gr 1-3-A family's history is intertwined with that of a rose, for which many female descendants are named. The story begins in 12th-century England, and the rose is named Rosa Mundi for the lady Rosamund in whose garden it first bloomed. Cuttings from the bush are kept in the family through the Crusades, the Wars of the Roses, their migration to the New World, and their move west. When a modern-day young woman learns of the name of the flower, she decides to name her unborn daughter Rosamund. The narrative gives a good sense of the passing of time, but the story lacks tension and is too sentimental to interest most children. The artist uses a rich palette of oils to create historically accurate tableaux, but some of the paintings seem stiff and posed, more like portraiture than illustration. In addition, sources checked describe the Rosa Mundi as cerise or dark pink with white stripes, but the author describes (and illustrator depicts) it as a light flower with dark pink stripes.-Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC
Lush oil paintings, full of costume and pageantry, illustrate a story about Rosa Mundi, the twelfth-century peppermint-striped rose that was first named in a British nobleman's garden and eventually was brought over to the U.S. Through good times and bad, the rose blooms in all kinds of places, and over generations parents name their daughters for it, "Rose" and "Rosamund". The idea of the fragile flower enduring through wars, emigration, and harsh pioneer journeys will give kids an idea of the sweep of history and the meaning of names.