A rhyming picture book that deals with self-esteem in children.
Kraut’s debut introduces Sophie Sage, a young girl unfamiliar with failure. She aces spelling tests and wins every game she plays, but things change when she gets up in front of her class during their regular guessing game. Sophie has a memory lapse and forgets the name of the president whose picture she’s holding. Embarrassed, Sophie suddenly stops volunteering answers in school. An assignment to give a scary speech for Halloween leaves Sophie dreading having to speak in front of her class again. When Grandfather notices a change in behavior, he asks her what’s wrong. Sophie breaks down in tears, telling him everything. He shares a story about a time he did poorly on a geography test and explains that no one is right all the time. Once Sophie learns that it’s OK to make mistakes, she gains the confidence to give the Halloween speech; she doesn’t even worry about the few mistakes she makes while giving it. Vibrant, cartoonlike illustrations animate the text, which is a nice length for a read-aloud book. Though short enough for beginning readers, there are some words that will challenge their skills. While the rhyming text helps the story to move along at a quick pace, at times the forced rhymes sound a bit clunky. The message—that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s OK to be wrong once in a while—will be clear even to younger children, making the book a great teaching tool for parents or teachers dealing with issues of self-esteem and confidence in children.
Modern, colorful illustrations and a fun tale ensure that this message never becomes too preachy.