Released June 28, 2016.
This is a wonderful sequel to one of my favorite recent picture books, Sophie’s Squash. Sophie is heading to school for the first time, bringing her best friends, her squash Bonnie and Baxter, with her. She has no interest in making new friends, because after all she already has her squash. But one kid, Steven Green, just won’t leave her alone. He sits near her, plays near her and even breathes on her. Steven wants to be friends but Sophie just won’t let him. Then as Sophie realizes that her squash friends have a limited time they can be with her, Steven comes up with a great idea to create a new friend. After all, humans make great friends too.
Miller has kept that same tone she used in the first picture book about Sophie and her squash. A large part of that is Sophie herself, who is beautifully headstrong and determined to decide what is going to happen. She rejects a lot of school from the chairs to the milk to the children around her. Readers will see children approach and try to befriend Sophie and her utter disdain for them. Then there is Steven, who won’t take even Sophie’s blunt rejections to heart. The interplay between Sophie and the other children will be familiar to readers and may help with first day jitters too.
Wilsdorf’s illustrations are done in watercolor and ink. They are bright and cheery, showing the school room in particular in all of its colorful bounty. Then there are other pages, where the circle of life and produce makes things barren and dreary, late fall gardens that reflect Sophie’s mood.
A rich and noteworthy sequel to a beloved first book, this is one to reach for as school approaches. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from ARC received from Schwartz & Wade.