________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number . . . .March 17, 2017


Waiting for Sophie.

Sarah Ellis. Illustrated by Carmen Mok.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, April, 2017.
48 pp., hardcover, $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-77278-020-8.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

**** /4

Reviewed from F&Gs.


Sarah Ellis is one of Canada’s most successful writer of children’s books (Back of Beyond, Ben Overnight, and several volumes in the “I, Canada” series). She is also a critic, a teacher and a librarian.

internal art     Utilizing the trope of “new baby – concerned older brother – problem with new baby – happy ending", Ellis begins her story with Liam, who looks about six, being woken up by Nana-Downstairs, a hip lady in pants and designer specs. Mom and Dad have gone to the hospital because new sister Sophie is on the way.

     Ellis’ trademark wry humour comes into play almost immediately as Liam jumps up and down on the bed and says:

“Waiting is my worst thing. I want to jump on waiting and smash it to smithereens and flush it down the toilet.”

“I know,” said Nana-Downstairs. “Here’s an idea. Let’s be bad today. There’s nothing like being bad to pass the time.”

Liam and Nana-Downstairs wore their pajamas all day…

No news of Sophie. Liam and Nana-Downstairs did not make good nutrition choices.

They ate marshmallow sandwiches for lunch.

No news of Sophie.

     Finally, little Sophie is gently welcomed home, but:

After three whole weeks, Liam was tired of burping and
crying. Burping and crying and diapers and a little bit of
throwing up was getting boring. It was time for Sophie to
Learn more things.

     Why can’t Sophie talk to Liam? Why doesn’t she follow the rules and stay out of Liam’s things?

     A G.O.F – Get Older Faster – machine could be the answer. A box with lots of paint and dials is constructed with help and advice from Nana-Downstairs, but, in the first test phase, Nana-Downstairs twists her knee, and Sophie just drops her binky and falls off the cushions she has been placed on. Liam is fed up with the whole idea.

     Weeks later, the carpentry skills Liam picked up making the G.O.F. machines prove useful when he assists his unhandy dad to make a change table for Sophie. Perhaps the machine did make at least one person grow up faster: Liam!

     Carmen Mok, who has many picturebook and magazine credits to her name, has graced the pages with some charming digitally-created art with the look of watercolours, mostly images of the characters in the story. The font chosen is a large, clear one, and the layout beckons new readers of ‘chapter books’ to give it a try. The book would also be appropriate for a slighter younger audience for reading aloud.

     Waiting for Sophie is a fine addition to library collections, especially those requiring more easy novels with contemporary themes.

Highly Recommended.

Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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