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 October 14, 2010.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010
Sophie Simon, the smartest girl in the third grade (and possibly the world), has no interest in making friends (much to her parents chagrin). She is, however, desperate to purchase a top-of-the-line graphing calculator. When a few classmates approach Sophie about solving their problems (since she seems to be the girl with all of the answers), she’s hesitant to help them out because, well, she has very little interest in kids her own age. The lure of cash with which to purchase her dream calculator is too great and Sophie agrees to help out her classmates, ultimately pocketing more than just cash.
Sophie Simon is a solid early chapter book. The situations are a little ridiculous and quite humorous and will appeal to kids to have memorized random facts, such as the preferred diet of lemurs. Appended is Sophie Simon’s Encyclopedia of Things She Can’t Believe You Don’t Know Already, as well as instructions for making saltwater taffy. Recommend to fans of Fitzgerald’s The Great Brain.