SOPHIA, THE ALCHEMIST’S DOG by Shelley Jackson

SOPHIA, THE ALCHEMIST’S DOG

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sophia’s master is alchemist to the King, who gives him a yearly allowance to turn lead into gold, something the little brown dog’s master has yet to accomplish. When the King announces he’s coming to visit, the alchemist has two weeks to produce gold. Driven by bad dreams, he sketches them in his book, hoping to transform them into a magic formula. When Sophia accidentally tracks ink across his notations, her master desperately tries to find an answer in them but to no avail. Sophia takes things into her paws and with the help of an angel and an imp, she combines things from the smells on the paper and voilà, gold! The King arrives and when the alchemist has no gold to show him, Sophia is ready to roll out her gold lump when the King finds treasure of a different sort—in the alchemist’s sketches. Now dubbed painter to the King, he creates gold by mixing pigments with egg yolks for paint. Jackson’s (Escape South, not reviewed, etc.) illustrations of acrylic, pen and ink, and colored pencil provide historical context for the story. The text appears on parchment images that are set against sketches and drawings, adding dimension and creating a visual multi-layered effect that is as enchanting as the story. A somewhat longer text and a slightly formal style make this perfect for reading or telling aloud, and the art will captivate its audience as well. Truly magical. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84279-1
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002




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