It’s Sophie’s birthday, but nothing seems right to this headstrong 2-year-old until Granny saves the day in this rote offering from Wells.
When Sophie wakes up, she refuses to answer her mother’s cheerful questions or to wear her special birthday dress. Her father’s gift is a disappointment, and she’s too picky to eat. After the unappreciative toddler shows disdain for Granny’s present (a set of Talking, Blinking Alphabet Blocks), the two set out on a walk. Granny, astute as ever, finds the perfect cure for Sophie’s dudgeon: a tiger costume with which Sophie can express all her terribleness! The sabre-tooth suit makes for one acceptable solution, as Sophie happily celebrates her big milestone. Mixed-media illustrations in a pastel palette showcase adept brushwork and beautiful use of pattern. However, both the narrative and illustrations miss the usual comedic beats and deftness of skill that Wells is so capable of producing. At times, the narrative seems more interested in satiric digs at modern concepts of play than in Sophie; in addition to the talking alphabet blocks, there’s Sophie’s Push-Me-Pull-You Motorcycle and the Learning Curve Toy Shop.
A worthy topic and a capable concept that barely miss the mark. (Picture book. 2-6)