Use Your Words, Sophie

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Use Your Words, Sophie Book Poster Image
Charming tale of language, welcoming new sibling.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some exposure to the experience of bringing home a baby sibling and communicating with her.

Positive Messages

Give siblings a chance to get acquainted with new siblings; give kids the space to explore language creatively; involve kids in their baby siblings' care.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Use Your Words, Sophie is a preschooler book geared toward welcoming and communicating with a new sibling from author-illustrator Rosemary Wells. In this third book about 2-year-old Sophie (following Time-Out for Sophie and Sophie's Terrible Twos), she welcomes home a baby sister but insists upon speaking to her in a slew of secret languages. Kids will love the idea of nonsensical languages such as Baboon and Space Martian, and those with new siblings will relate to the experience of getting to know a new person in the household and learning how to become a useful part of the new baby's care.

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What's the story?

Sophie's brand-new baby sister has just arrived, and though her parents are calling her Ashleigh, Sophie isn't so sure that's the best name for her; nor is she sure of the best way to communicate with this new presence. So she tries out a variety of languages she invented, much to her parents' dismay. Eventually, Granny is called in to help Sophie use her language skills to communicate with the new baby, if she can settle on the perfect one.

Is it any good?

USE YOUR WORDS, SOPHIE is a sweet book about welcoming a sibling and reacting in your own way. Sophie resorts to what seems like nonsensical babble, but there's a method to the madness: She's trying on languages for size, regressing a little, and exploring language in a fun, creative way. There's a nice intergenerational touch when Granny gets involved and helps funnel Sophie's creativity into something that's helpful for everyone -- by redirecting it toward help with the newborn.

This is a simple, easy-to-understand book about a very relatable subject, and the soft-ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations give it a very comforting, old-timey feel. Kids will delight in some of these made-up languages and may spend a day or two making up their own.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about having a brother or sister. Do you have siblings? What's it like? What's your favorite thing about having a brother or sister?

  • Did you understand Sophie's secret languages? Have you ever made up languages of your own? If so, what were they?

  • What things do you do to help with with your baby sister or brother?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and stories for toddlers

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