SOPHIE AND THE SIDEWALK MAN by Stephanie S. Tolan

SOPHIE AND THE SIDEWALK MAN

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An honest presentation of a contemporary problem, by an author who has explored moral issues with unusual insight in books for older children (A Good Courage, 1988). Sophie's energies are devoted to earning enough money to buy an endearing toy hedgehog. She's an only child with an allergic mother, precluding a pet; she's also sure that ``Weldon'' will supplant snooty Veronica's doll at a school Toyland celebration. Meanwhile, a homeless man and his sign--``I'm hungry''--prey on her conscience; as she tries to earn the $40 for Weldon, she worries about the man and finally gives him half her money. A disarmingly simple narrative, with telling details slipped in naturally: Sophie offers to help her mother, who is so grateful that Sophie decides not to ask for pay; skipping school lunch to save money, she finds that her hunger feeds her sympathy for the man. A realistic, inconclusive discussion between Sophie and her mother gently summarizes the tangled issues surrounding handouts to the homeless. In the end, the man remains an unknown who simply disappears; Sophie has acted from motives and understanding that have grown over the course of the story; and she does get the hedgehog--too late for the school competition, but that's no longer important. A thoughtful, intelligent, and appealing book, with respect for its young readers and for the problem it explores. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-02-789365-0
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Four Winds/MacMillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1992




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