What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that their kids will find a positive role model in Sophie, but there's a bit of tit for tat in the way she ultimately retaliates against her misbehaving cousin that could send the wrong message. Still, children will identify with Sophie and cheer when she stands up for herself. Expressive and amusing illustrations, occasional tongue-in-cheek writing, and a sympathetic main character are a winning combination.
What's the story?
Three days of her cousin Wendell? How can Sophie endure it? Wendell is thoughtless, rude, and selfish. He scares her from the closet and pinches her under the breakfast table, while Sophie does her best to be polite to him. Humorous illustrations, on-target story, and clever writing make for a delightful read.
Is it any good?
Kevin Henkes excels in presenting common childhood issues within a humorous, intelligent story. Wendell behaves as a typical 5- or 6-year-old child would like to act. He does everything he wishes, with little consideration for others. And, of course, children know who's right and who's wrong. They naturally empathize with polite Sophie and see the error of Wendell's ways. One 7-year-old said Wendell "was not being very nice. He was treating Sophie as if she wasn't important, and all people are important."
The bright, cheerful watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the characters' emotions, and the illustrations often add extra humor. On one page, the text reads, "Sophie helped Wendell carry his sleeping bag and suitcase upstairs," and the accompanying illustration shows a boisterous Wendell zipping up the stairs empty-handed, while Sophie struggles to carry both the suitcase and the sleeping bag.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Wendell's behavior, and parents can reinforce that it's generally rude. Do you think Sophie does the right thing when she tries to turn the tables? If you were in Sophie's position, how would you respond to a houseguest who hassled you? Why do you think Wendell behaves the way he does? What do you think his parents are like when it comes to disciplining him?