cover image Sophie Sleeps Over

Sophie Sleeps Over

Marisabina Russo. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-933-7

For Sophie the rabbit, her first sleepover party becomes a flashpoint for some big anxieties. Is she a big enough girl to spend a night away from home and her transitional object (a doll named Turnip)? Is Olive, the party’s hostess, really her best friend? And if so, why is another guest, Penelope, also claiming to fill that role in Olive’s life? Sophie’s ever-shifting desires to fit in, fight (“See, I really am Olive’s best friend,” she thinks after high-stakes game of Pin the Tail on the Raccoon), or flee will strike a chord with readers, and the matter-of-fact, mostly single-plane gouache illustrations give them just enough of a healthy distance from Sophie’s pain to open up a discussion. Russo (Peter Is Just a Baby) does tie up her loose emotional ends a bit neatly—when Penelope and Sophie concur that “you can never have too many” best friends, the invisible hand of the grownup is too present—but the story remains a sharp, sympathetic portrait of the trickiness of young friendships. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)