cover image Sophie


Mem Fox. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-277160-7

In this cyclical tale, Grandpa welcomes infant Sophie into the world; much later, Sophie is saddened when ``there was no Grandpa.'' The birth of Sophie's own child completes the circle. Fox's (Time for Bed) rhythmic, sparsely worded text (``Grandpa grew older and slower and smaller'') captures the deep love between Sophie and Grandpa, a bond emphasized in the artwork by the presence of oversized hands clasped in friendship. Sophie's development (``Sophie grew and grew and grew'') is contrasted with Grandpa's decline into ``little Grandpa,'' and Sophie begins to care for him as he once looked after her. Robinson (Elijah's Angel) paints in an almost aggressively naive style, playing fast and loose with perspective and line. Occasionally her efforts fall flat, but more often her compositions offer up a wealth of verve and emotion. This engaging picture book is eloquent in its simplicity, and its raw, densely peopled artwork saves it from sentimentality. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)