Love by Sophia – by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail

     Love by Sophia – by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail, Margaret K. Elderry Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), 9781481477901, 2020 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book?  Sophia and her (imaginary?) friend Noodle, the giraffe, are back for another installment. This time, Ms. Paradigm tells her students to draw something they love and Sophia gets to learn about perspective, both in the visual and metaphysical sense. Of course, she tries to paint Noodle, but he looks too flat: “It doesn’t look real,” Sophia complains. With help from her teacher, she imagines how the giraffe looks to a bird or a worm. Soon she’s created a picture she thinks deserves to be on the fridge and she takes it to each member of her multi-racial family, but no one quite gets it until they realize it’s a picture of Sophia’s whole family, but seen from far above. Ismail’s exuberant watercolors and vibrant hues are a good match for Sophia’s foray into painting and their literalness contrast nicely with the idea of shifting perspective. An author’s note at the end of the book gives some pointers on using perspective in art and also a glossary of art terms.

Anything you didn’t like about it? A valiant effort, although I’m not sure the target audience (age 3-6) will get the world play around perspective having two completely different meanings.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be a good picture book introduction for an art teacher starting a unit on perspective. It’s also a rich portrayal of a multi-racial and multi-generational family, living in a warm and busy household.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: December 6, 2020

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