Reviews for Sophie Simon Solves Them All

Booklist Reviews 2010 September #2
Brilliant but socially backward, eight-year-old Sophie Simon doesn't bother to hide her brains. She is quite comfortable reading Thoreau's Civil Disobedience under her desk during math, but she is disdainful of her parents' suggestion that she try to make a friend or two. Still, to earn money for the graphing calculator of her dreams, Sophie attempts to solve several classmates' personal problems and ends up with more than she bargained for. The appended glossary, entitled "Sophie Simon's Encyclopedia of Things She Can't Believe You Don't Know Already," defines terms such as Greensboro sit-ins, reverse psychology, and topographic map. From Sophie's doting-but-clueless parents to the tyrannical ballet teacher aptly named Madame Robespierre, the portrayals of adults are frequently, amusingly over-the-top. Sometimes exaggerated for comic effect and occasionally poignant, the black-and-white illustrations capture the story's sense of humor as well as its sense of style. A fresh, funny chapter book for young readers.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Third-grader Sophie's parents react to their genius daughter's love of knowledge with fear and embarrassment; in fact, all the parents of her acquaintances are terribly mismatched to their offspring. In her efforts to acquire a graphing calculator, Sophie also ends up sorting out the other kids' issues. This spoof tickles the funny bone with witty observations and ridiculous situations. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #6
What happens when parents seem like aliens to their children? Sophie Simon's parents react to their genius daughter's love of knowledge with fear and embarrassment. Third-grader Sophie wants to read calculus books; her parents insist on comics. In fact, all the parents of her acquaintances (Sophie doesn't want or need friends) are terribly mismatched to their offspring. The clumsy animal-loving Daisy has parents who want her to be a ballerina; Owen Luu loves the quiet life while his mother likes chaos; Julia enjoys journalism, but her father insists her future is as a mathlete. Sophie doesn't care about their problems, only her own, but in her efforts to get hold of the graphing calculator she wants and that her parents won't buy, Sophie ends up sorting out all the kids' issues. Her superior intelligence helps this house of cards fall into place just the way the kids want it. Like the Wayside School series and Florence Parry Heide's The Problem with Pulcifer, this spoof tickles the funny bone with witty observations and ridiculous situations. Sophie's serious tone amidst all the drama makes this an unexpected page-turner -- the reader knows each child's story will turn out fine but wonders how Sophie will put it all together. The funny situations and the loving but dense parents add up to a delightful read-aloud as well. robin l. smith Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #1

Wishes come true when third-grade genius Sophie Simon applies her intellectual skills to her classmates' problems with their parents' expectations and solves a problem of her own. Sophie wants a graphing calculator, Owen Luu wants a rabbit, Julia McGreevy wants to be a journalist and Daisy Pete (and everyone else in her ballet class) wants to avoid the ballet recital. Sophie's parents just want her to be a normal kid, with friends. Everyone ends up happy in this middle-grade spoof. Exaggerations abound: Their teacher's long list of rules includes "No thinking," the ballet teacher threatens to chop off toes and Sophie's parents are distraught that she has visited the library. Sophie is brilliant, reading a calculus text for fun. Daisy is clumsy, Julia math-averse and Owen frightened of nearly everything. A ring-tailed lemur wreaks havoc at Owen's birthday, and the ballet recital becomes a sit-in. An "encyclopedia" at the end explains allusions, and there's a recipe for saltwater taffy. This reading romp has plenty of kid appeal. Final art not seen. (Fiction. 7-10)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 September

Gr 3-4--Sophie Simon is the smartest girl in third grade, and perhaps in the world. Her parents are worried because she refuses to make friends at school--she would rather have her nose in a book. She is fascinated by calculus and would do anything to own a graphing calculator. After being caught reading Principles of Civil Disobedience during math, her teacher, Mr. St. Cupid, asks her about the book in front of the class. From this point on, Sophie's classmates look to her for advice. Sophie's problem is not having the calculator, so she asks them to pay her to solve their problems. She agrees to assist Daisy with a sit-in during a ballet recital she doesn't want to participate in, gets Julia a newspaper assignment so she won't have to drop out of the journalism club, and helps Owen to get a pet by using reverse psychology on his mom. Through a series of lively and humorous events, Sophie ends up with something she hadn't counted on--friends. The reading level is perfect for those who have already transitioned to easy chapter books but want a higher vocabulary and plot complexity. The story concludes with "Sophie Simon's Encyclopedia of Things She Can't Believe You Don't Know Already," which is a glossary of terms and phrases used in the book. Black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout.--Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR

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