From 2010-2012, I wrote a blog called Spine Label. At the time, I was working towards my master's degree in library science, as well as working in a public library (primarily in youth services). Spine Label was where I reviewed books, discussed programs I was implementing at my library, and occasionally wrote about library science more broadly. Spine Label is no longer online; the domain name was my maiden name and it didn't make a whole lot of sense to keep it, particularly once I left my public library job. Happily, I still have access the contents of the blog, which my husband is fond of saying is the best thing I've ever written (I'm not sure what that means for everything I've worked on since then, but I'm going with it). Since I'm writing about children's literature again, I thought it would be nice to revisit the reviews that were once posted on Spine Label, as a way of both looking at backlist titles as well as giving the reviews a proper home on the Internet again. It's worth noting that these reviews were written from the perspective of a public librarian and not necessarily the perspective of a parent.
The following post originally appeared on Spine Label on May 31, 2010.
Clarion Books, 2010
Sophie Hartley is approaching her double-digit birthday (10) and she may have told her classmates that she is getting a baby gorilla as a gift. Her father did say yes (while he was watching football), and Sophie is really passionate about gorillas and even has a named picked out (Patsy). And while Sophie’s worried about what mean-girl Destiny might say if she doesn’t come through, she’s also adjusting to not sharing a room with big sister Nora, determined to teach baby sister Maura some manners and hoping she doesn’t lose best friend Jenna to lacrosse. Will everything work itself out by her birthday?
I’ve not read the author’s previous Sophie Hartley books, but Sophie is a very well-drawn nearly-ten-year old. This book smacked of my own third grade experience, which involved little white lies, over-exaggerations and tenuous friendships. Recommended for fans of Ivy + Bean (Annie Barrows) and Ramona (Beverly Cleary).