cover image Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth!

Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth!

Sarah Weeks, , illus. by Robert Neubecker. . S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-8686-7

In a rant worthy of talk radio, young Sophie warns readers of the horrors of siblinghood: “Babies are not sweet. Babies are not precious. Babies are not cute. Babies are... your worst nightmare !” If readers need further proof of Sophie's claims, Neubecker (Wow! School! ), wonderfully in his element, offers a portrait of infant-as-alien worthy of the Weekly World News (in addition to aliens, Sophie also compares babies to pirates and monsters). Truth (actually) be told, all of Sophie's complaints are familiar to the genre: babies are smelly crybabies, attention hoggers and violators of personal space and property. But Weeks (Catfish Kate and the Sweet Swamp Band ) makes the material fresh: her heroine has an indelible personality and a voice that spills off the page, aided by comic typography (“If you have to sit next to a monster all the way to your aunt and uncle's house in Syracuse, New York, do not breathe in through your nose ”). Fully owning her wounded rage, Sophie seethes with precocious certitude as she marshals evidence (she's big on lists) and wields rhetorical flourishes—the text is a gift to anyone reading aloud. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)