Sophia proves she’s not only a gifted linguist and negotiator (One Word from Sophia, 2015), but a brilliant engineer, as well.
Endpapers (cleverly oriented to require a height-emphasizing 90-degree turn) open the book with “giraffacts” that are referenced in the story. Sophia’s birthday wish from the previous installment has been fulfilled, but she’s “happysad”: It seems that “giraffe-size problems” come with Noodle, her kiss-happy, snoring One True Desire. Ismail’s expressive, hilarious watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations once again shine. Noodle has a long tongue—the giraffacts state it’s about 20 inches long—which makes his liquid kisses less-than-welcome to many members of Sophia’s interracial family. Though Noodle is “especially fond of Grand-mamá,” she is decidedly not a fan of his “sloppy” kisses. Neither is the family dog, who, dismayed and disgusted, is lifted right off the ground by Noodle’s extralong tongue! With Noodle’s snoring keeping the entire family awake, Sophia’s jurist mother gives her a directive: “to find a perdurable solution to his problems” (the first of many synonyms for “permanent”). That’s all Sophia needs to let her incredible engineering skills shine. First, she wisely consults an expert, an acoustical engineer, depicted as a woman of color. When at first she doesn’t succeed, Sophia, who has brown skin and wears her hair in two Afro-puff ponytails, perseveres until she finds an abiding solution.
Fun, clever, and empowering, this is the rare case of a sequel that outshines its predecessor. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-9)