Friday, March 10, 2017

Sophie's Snail by Dick King-Smith

It's been many years since I read and loved the Sophie books. They are, alas, now out of print in the US. However, I was scrambling to find something for a very reluctant reader who is only interested in farming and thought that this just might click, although it's a very long-shot to ask a 2nd grade boy to be interested in the adventures of a four year old girl.

Sophie is small, sturdy, and determined. And what she's most determined about is that she is going to be a lady farmer. She will have a cow, two hens, a pony and a spotty pig. Meanwhile though, she practices on the snails, wood lice, and other small creatures in the backyard. The book contains a selection of chapter-length stories as Sophie interacts with her older twin brothers, "helps" Daddy with a bad back, and has a run-in with the new neighboring girl, Dawn.

This has a higher reading level than the average chapter book, and quite a few Britishisms. Sophie is a unique and funny character, and her stubborn refusal to bow to the wishes of her family and neighbors in being more ladylike, giving up her "farm" of small creatures, or overlook what she perceives as injustice will charm readers who can sympathize with adults who just don't understand.

Verdict: But is it worth digging out of the back shelves or storage for use in a book club? Or looking for UK editions to add to the library? There was only one copy in my consortium (with a very grotty cover - not the one pictured), so I had to place inter-library loan requests. I ended up with about 5 copies and I think only 1 checked out. They all had the old, ugly cover though. I'm afraid this book's time has passed.

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