Monday, March 9, 2015

Use Your Words Sophie! - a bookwrap

"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life."  - Isadora James

"In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips."  unknown


Unwrapping inside...

Rosemary Wells is a storyteller extraordaire!  Her newest book, starring the adorable little character Sophie, is the third about this "irrepessible two-year old who is wonderful, terrible, and always loveable."

Anyone who has brought a newborn baby home to introduce to their toddler can identify with this humorous but charming story.  Sophie chooses to speak in her made-up languages such as hyena,  Jellyfish or space talk although she knows a lot of words in her own native tongue.  It's just more fun to spout off to the world with her imaginative words and belt out the Baboon national anthem at the top of her lungs.  Her parents are constantly prompting her to, "Use your words, Sophie!" But Sophie has a mind of her own and flat out refuses.  She likes her words best.

Then one day when her new baby sister arrives on the home scene Sophie's words take on a whole new significance.  The baby, who everyone in the family is trying to pin a name on and just can't seem to land upon one that is right, just keeps on crying and crying and won't stop.   Grandma is called in for emergency backup and is unable to soothe and calm baby down.  "Even Granny couldn't find the switch for the baby siren." (loved that line)

For the first time Sophie uses her words.  "Give her to me, please!"
Reluctance from her parents follows but Granny thinks it's a grand idea and hands the wee one over.  Sophie, using her words, sings to her little sister, and suddenly "the room is quiet."  What magic is in that song to calm that little one down?  What suddenly changes to make happiness prevail and serenity rule?  

The illustrations are precious and perfect.  The colour pallet is soft and soothing.  I highly recommend this book.

The other previous books created by Rosemary Wells starring Sophie are:

Born in New York City, Rosemary Wells grew up in a house "filled with books, dogs, and nineteenth-century music." Her childhood years were spent between her parents' home near Red Bank, New Jersey, and her grandmother's rambling stucco house on the Jersey Shore. Most of her sentimental memories, both good and bad, stem from that place and time. Her mother was a dancer in the Russian Ballet, and her father a playwright and actor. Mrs. Wells says, "Both my parents flooded me with books and stories. My grandmother took me on special trips to the theater and museums in New York. "Rosemary Wells's career as an author and illustrator spans more than 30 years and 60 books. She has won numerous awards, and has given readers such unforgettable characters as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. She has also given Mother Goose new life in two enormous, definitive editions, published by Candlewick. Wells wrote and illustrated Unfortunately Harriet, her first book with Dial, in 1972. One year later she wrote the popular Noisy Nora. "The children and our home life have inspired, in part, many of my books. Our West Highland white terrier, Angus, had the shape and expressions to become Benjamin and Tulip, Timothy, and all the other animals I have made up for my stories." Her daughters Victoria and Beezoo were constant inspirations, especially for the now famous "Max" board book series. "Simple incidents from childhood are universal," Wells says. "The dynamics between older and younger siblings are common to all families."But not all of Wells' ideas come from within the family circle. Many times when speaking, Mrs. Wells is asked where her ideas come from. She usually answers, "It's a writer's job to have ideas." Sometimes an idea comes from something she reads or hears about, as in the case of her recent book, Mary on Horseback, a story based on the life of Mary Breckenridge, who founded the Frontier Nursing Service. Timothy Goes to School was based on an incident in which her daughter was teased for wearing the wrong clothes to a Christmas concert. Her dogs, west highland terriers, Lucy and Snowy, work their way into her drawings in expression and body position. She admits, "I put into my books all of the things I remember. I am an accomplished eavesdropper in restaurants, trains, and gatherings of any kind. These remembrances are jumbled up and changed because fiction is always more palatable than truth. Memories become more true as they are honed and whittled into characters and stories."

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap!

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