Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley Paperback – Aug 1 2011
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Girls undergoing the same growing-up trials will be happy to have Sophie make them laugh." - Kirkus Reviews
"A lively chapter book full of humor, believable family dynamics, and characters who think and talk like real people. . . . Greene explores her themes of identity, ambivalence about growing up, and friendship with an unusual naturalness and depth, yet the themes never trump story or character." - The Horn Book, starred review
"[Readers will] want to unwrap this gem of a story and savor the delicious conclusions." - School Library Journal
About the Author
Stephanie Greene is the author of many books for young readers, including the popular Owen Foote books. Ms. Greene lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. Her website is www.stephaniegreenebooks.com ."See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's difficult for parents and teachers with young but advanced readers to find books that are interesting yet challenging. This book has some very difficult vocabulary while still having a plot that young children will like and there are no major boy obsessions. The book isn't overly long and the chapters are short. I would recommend this book for kids who read on a fourth or fifth grade level or as a read aloud.
This is a girl book, with lots of talk of bad girls and other things that third grade girls find important. There is a chapter in which Sophie and her friend talk about bras and breasts (in a typical childlike way with lots of giggling and even some sock boobs). It's enough to make a boy uncomfortable but not too much to alienate a young girl (it's a step down from Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret..
My one complaint about this book would be the price, this isn't a good enough book to justify paying hardback prices. At around 130 pages it will be devoured quickly and while it's a very good book, it's not so good that one would have to read it in hardback. If it was 4.99 like all the other great children's fiction out there I'd say run and get it, but it's not special enough to justify hardback pricing.
This story reminded me a lot of Alice's Birthday Pig by Tim Kennemore, about a similarly sweet and delightful family. Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley is the latest in a series about the irrepressible Sophie, but readers need not have read the earlier volumes to make sense of this one. I'll recommend this book to readers looking for something finer and more gentle than Junie B. Jones, and something just a hair easier than the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.
There is some adjusting that takes place when Sophie's older sister moves to the attic, giving Sophie a room all to herself. But, of course, Sophie plans to share it with her promised birthday present. Although, the present isn't the one she expects, her birthday turns out to be wonderful with all family members contributing....and her friends, too. A truly enjoyable, wholesome story.
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