Time-Out for Sophie

illus. by author. 32p. Viking. 2013. RTE $15.99. ISBN 978-0-670-78511-7. LC 2012015263.
RedReviewStarPreS—When Mama gives her young mouse a bowl of macaroni and cheese, the toddler tosses it on the floor. Sophie repeats the behavior with a second serving, earning a time-out. Then, while "helping" Daddy with the laundry, she throws the basket of folded clothing on the floor twice for another time-out. But when she grabs the glasses off Granny's nose, the elderly mouse stops reading to Sophie and takes a time-out for herself with her eyes closed. Sophie gets the message, returns the spectacles, and is rewarded with a cozy read on the sofa. The last page shows her in the bathtub, creating more mischief, in typical toddler fashion. As in her "Max and Ruby" (Viking) and "Yoko" (Hyperion) books, Wells's signature artwork is vivid and pleasingly simple, and the characters are endearing. Reminiscent of Noisy Nora (Dial, 1973), this is a charming addition.—Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CT
Little mouse Sophie is having a busy evening. When Mama tells her, "No throwing supper," does Sophie behave? Of course not. She dumps a second bowl of mac and cheese (homemade!), so her mother puts her in a time-out. Next Sophie "helps" Daddy by pushing his neatly folded laundry onto the floor. Daddy gives her another chance, but like any self-respecting toddler, she can't resist a pile of clothes. "Time-out for Sophie!" Like-minded ers will find an ally in this spirited mouse-child, who revels in her gleeful transgressions. Most of the action takes place within cozy, colorful borders, but after the grownups reprimand Sophie, the comforting frame is stripped away and Sophie appears small and powerless. Young listeners, who understand small and powerless all too well, can empathize with Sophie's distress from a safe distance. The narrative pattern is disrupted when Sophie grabs Granny's glasses for the third time in a row and Granny wisely gives herself a time-out. This reversal proves unsettling enough to set Sophie straight…for the time being. As always, Wells portrays her character's developmentally appropriate behavior with genuine respect and affection; the way in which the adults calmly express their frustration offers a gentle (unobtrusive) message to those dealing with their own Sophies. kitty flynn

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