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Sophie in the Saddle
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Gr 1-4-The fourth book about the doings of the indomitable little girl who most recently appeared in Sophie Hits Six (Candlewick, 1993). Here, she housebreaks Puddle, her puppy; learns to swim; and, during her family's holiday on the Cornish seaside, learns to ride horseback. She proves to be a natural rider and is sad to have to stop until next summer-lessons at home are too expensive. Luckily Aunt Al, as usual, comes to the rescue. Sophie is an unintentionally funny child. Her mispronunciations and confused words (``amateur'' for ``immature'') are the source of much of the book's humor. Readers never really get inside her head as they do with such young protagonists as Cleary's Ramona or Hurwitz's Russell. Rather, they see Sophie from the viewpoint of an older, more sophisticated person who is amused by the six-year-old's naivete. Parkins's illustrations capture the girl's resolute, no-nonsense personality well. Sophie's many fans will enjoy these well-told adventures, which are just right for beginning chapter-book readers.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ

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