Books by Sophy Williams

THE STORM DRAGON by Paula Harrison
Released: March 7, 2017

"An old-time-y fairy tale for dragon lovers; here's hoping subsequent volumes offer more meat. (Fantasy. 6-10)"
A castle maid hides an injured dragon. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2017

"Thoroughly bloodless. (Fiction. 7-10)"
A pair of twins has a scary adventure with their new puppy. Read full book review >
Released: May 31, 2016

"The Doctor Dolittle premise and kid-friendly setting don't make up for pacing, plot, and writing weaknesses. (Fantasy. 5-8)"
A girl who can talk to animals helps a lonely new arrival at the zoo. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2013

"Suitable for advanced preschoolers who can listen one-on-one to an adult reading a longer, more complex story or for older children who don't object to a book that seems designed for little ones. (Picture book/religion. 4-8) "
The Nativity story is retold in familiar, everyday language with a petite, illustrated format in this somewhat unbalanced Christmas offering imported from Great Britain. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"Overall, a thoughtfully selected and arranged anthology, appropriate for larger library collections and church libraries as well as observant homes. (index of first lines) (Religion. 4-9)"
This attractively illustrated collection offers a traditional, comforting anthology of Christian prayers and Bible verses for children, suitable for use at home or in church programs. Read full book review >
THE WINTER DRAGON by Caroline Pitcher
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

With the help of a paper dragon and his own imagination, a young boy confronts his fear of the dark. Rory hates night and worries about unseen demons in the shadows of his bedroom. One winter day Rory makes a paper dragon. That night he discovers his dragon glowing in order to keep the dark away and blowing to warm his slippers and bed. Each night, Rory's dragon returns to warm him with courageous stories of bonfires, blazing beacons, and knights and dragons. Each night Rory and his Winter Dragon "banish the demons of the dark" and Rory sleeps unafraid, his heart filled with the dragon's stories. When spring light returns, Rory knows he and his dragon must part. The realistic pastel illustrations cast Rory in darkness and light, amplifying his fears as well as his emerging courage. A reassuring story with a touch of fantasy for the night-light gang. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
STARRY TALES by Geraldine McCaughrean
Released: March 1, 2001

McCaughrean maintains the dizzyingly high standards of The Golden Hoard (1996) and its sequels with this thematic collection of sky myths and legends. Associated with cultures as diverse as Ancient Rome and the Cook Islands, the 15 tales explain, among other things, rainbows, thunder, falling stars, the origin of night, and why the sun and moon live far apart. Whether love stories, tragedies, accounts of heroic deeds or trickster tales, all are likely to be new to young readers, even those as widely told as "Orion's Downfall" and the Chinese "Bridge of Magpies." McCaughrean retells them with characteristic vigor: "With sulfur from the hot springs, with magma from the volcanoes, [the gods] fashioned a foe to send against Orion: an insect that wore its skeleton on the outside for armor, a creature the color of rage and venom . . ." Williams's indistinct, ordinary-looking figures seldom capture the tales' drama, and while McCaughrean closes with comments on each story, there are no specific source notes. Still, this extends the scope of such Native American gatherings as Gretchen Mayo's Star Tales (1987), and readers will be captivated by the range of visions here. (Folktales. 9-12)Read full book review >
CAT'S KITTENS by Paul Rogers
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

For seven nights, a stray cat mothers her new kittens, teaching them the ways of the city. Cat knows that her kittens will be forced to grow up fast, so she lets them test their surroundings, Ö la Nancy Tafuri's Have You Seen My Duckling? (1984). Each night, a new danger befalls one of the kittens, be it car, tree limb, dog, dustbin, or rat. The result of their explorations falls short of independence when one of them asks, ``Has the time come . . . when we must fend for ourselves?'' and Cat warns, ``Not until your tails are fluffier. Not until your ears are further apart.'' Sweeps of hazy blue-green and purple pastel craft atmospheric night scenes, particularly those showing the underside of restaurant chairs, and tables that look like alien planets from a cat's perspective. This is a series of moody moments rather than a story—more of a cautious outing than a hair-raising adventure. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A book about ballet that tries to do many things—and succeeds at most. In her first book, Hollyer admirably accomplishes the equivalent of novelizing movies based on books—adapting back into stories eight ballets originally inspired by stories. Irina Baronova—one of Ballanchine's ``baby ballerinas''—provides an introduction that is part autobiography, part engaging discussion of ballet. She also pens introductions and performance notes for each story, full of personal—at times comic—experiences and pithy observations. Everything about the book orients readers toward an appreciation of the ballet except the opulent, eye-filling illustrations; Williams treats the material only as stories and doesn't make the link to the ballets that her collaborators do. It's a minor misstep in an otherwise smoothly choreographed work. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
THE WITNESS by Robert Westall
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

Freelance illustrator Williams (When Grandma Came, 1992) has lovingly redecorated this 1986 story by Westall (Christmas Spirit, p. 1422, etc.), the last book he ever wrote. ``The witness'' is a cat who lives in Judea after being kidnapped from Egypt where she had been a god. Now she is desolate in this strange new land, cold and hungry and about to give birth. She finds a poor stable, little better than the outdoors, and goes inside. There she sees a woman who is also in labor. The woman protects the cat, who has two kittens, and the cat in turn watches over the man-kitten who is born to the woman. And the cat realizes that this is no ordinary baby. Jesus glows with radiant light; angels attend his birth; rich and poor alike come to visit the Christ-child. Then the woman's husband has a dream that he must return the cat to her rightful home. He believes this to be with the Judean man who purchased her from her kidnapper, but his wife knows better. The man, woman, child, kittens, and cat, therefore, depart for Egypt. ``The cat of Bastet-Ra was going home.'' The sophisticated tale is adorned by Williams's graceful drawings in which the cat is truly feline, by turns sleek, sensual, and alert. (Fiction/Picture book. All ages) Read full book review >
MOVING by Michael Rosen
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

A cat that treasures its independence (``No one knows what I do./No one knows where I go'') and its freedom to choose when to join its humans (``they have me to tickle,/I have their laps'') suffers the indignities of a move. In a carefully crafted text whose repetitive phrases perfectly evoke the cat's behavior and priorities, Rosen describes its disorientation as the old house is emptied (``Still they had me to tickle,/but I had no laps''), outrage at being caged for the journey, and bolting once freed at the new place (there's a touch of anthropomorphism here—``Now they will worry,'' the cat speculates. ``I vanished myself./I warmed a new nowhere and I waited''). In time, of course, food is an irresistible lure, and things get back to normal. Williams's soft, painterly double spreads, in muted earthtones warmed with reds and greens, capture the family's feelings and the cat's expressive movements with equal facility. A familiar drama, developed with unusual sensitivity and style. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >