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Review of Say Hello, Sophie!

wells_say hello sophieSay Hello, Sophie!
by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author
Preschool    Viking    32 pp.
3/17    978-1-101-99925-7    $17.99    g

This endearing mouse family’s fifth book highlights a new hiccup in big sister Sophie’s development that many parents and children will recognize: she cannot bring herself to say expected social niceties like “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” in public. Meanwhile, in sharp contrast, baby sister Jane, who is so small she is still pink, chatters “ba-ba” in unprompted baby-talk greeting and response at the bakery, the park, and the library. Neither deliberately rude nor stubborn, Sophie has good intentions, but all the public prodding from her frustrated parents makes social transactions unbearably awkward. “Goodbye and Thank you wouldn’t come out. ‘We are going to have to practice Big Girl Hello and Big Girl Thank You, Sophie,’ said Mama. But it was just too embarrassing for Sophie to say those grown-up words.” The art, done in ink, watercolor, and gouache in soft pastel hues, supplies plenty of humor but also deftly captures Sophie’s internal struggles in public (compared with her confidence in private) through her posture and expressions. As usual, smart and stealthy Granny recognizes the essence of the situation and implements a successful solution, but baby Jane, humorously, gets the last word. Both adults and children familiar with this common impediment to making polite conversation will find comfort here, as well as some valuable insight and advice.

From the March/April 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Roach About Julie Roach

Julie Roach manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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