Six stories about a remarkably self-possessed four-year-old and her family. Like her creator, Sophie takes a serious interest in animals of all kinds--her life-plan is to buy a farm, and she already has a piggy bank labeled "farm munny." Her twin brothers scoff, but Dad has her measure: "Your sister may be small but she is a very determined person." Meanwhile, Sophie keeps pets suitable to a London garden: an intelligent-looking little snail with a shell of "lovely buttercup yellow" that has a near-tragedy down the sink; woodlice, in the potting shed, occasioning a memorable confrontation with a beruffled new neighbor--a little girl Sophie scorns for thoroughly sensible reasons. There are also comic interactions with Dad, whom Sophie "amuses" at length when he's laid flat by a bad back; and with Great-great-aunt Alice from the Highlands, who proves to be a kindred spirit. Anyone who delights in the wordplay of the Winnie-the-Pooh books will find King-Smith's sharply observed, witty portrait of this memorable child appealing; paradoxically, down-to-earth Sophie and her tender regard for real little animals is a refreshing contrast to Milne's whimsy and sentimentality. Perfect as a readaloud.