Sophie la girafe’s day gets off to a quiet start—but it definitely doesn’t stay that way.
Showing signs of its French origins in the croissant on Sophie’s breakfast table and views of the Eiffel Tower in the distance, the episode takes the stuffed giraffe and her plush, toy animal friends on a picnic outing that is punctuated by sudden noises. Each of the five tinny sonic kerfuffles—which range from a chugging train and a chorus of quacky ducks to a snatch of Euro-pop dance music from a portable radio—is set off by lifting a flap and runs without interruption (or the ability to turn it off) for several seconds. In keeping with the thoroughly bland cartoon illustrations, Sophie’s reaction to the noise is not irritation but a smile: “Today wasn’t quiet and peaceful after all,” she concludes. “It was noisy and fun!” Whether or not readers have the same reaction, the flaps’ hinges loosen with use, so that after several readings, just opening each spread causes the sounds to erupt. Moreover, the electronics are housed in a rear cover/box that is thicker than the entire story’s five spreads, and they require no fewer than three batteries to function. Replacing the latter is possible, though will likely never be necessary.
Maisy fans are unlikely to give a hoot for this sugary and clumsily designed alternative. (Novelty board book. 1-3)