When Sophie Thinks She Can’t...

Molly Bang, with Ann Stern. Blue Sky, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-15298-2
Sophie, the blonde child first seen in Bang’s Caldecott Honor–winning When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry..., struggles with self-confidence and problem-solving in her third picture book. After her sister ridicules her for not being smart (Sophie is having trouble with a tangram puzzle), Sophie carries her negative emotions to school. Teacher Ms. Mulry explains to the students that people aren’t “born smart,” but become so by exercising their brains. Bang’s kinetic art conveys Sophie’s frustration through her furrowed brow and smudgy, downturned lips; orange and yellow outlines—a trademark of Bang’s art—and bright, busy patterns suggest an overstimulating world. As Sophie and other students tackle a math puzzle that involves turning small squares into large rectangles, Bang gently reminds readers that learning is a gradual process, not a destination. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
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