Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sophie Simon Solves Them All

by Lisa Graff
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010. 103 pgs. Intermediate.

Sophie Simon, 3rd-grade brainchild, is studying calculus and wants more than anything a Pembo Q-60 calculator. Her parents want more than anything for her to be "well-adjusted" and to have friends. Horrified that she loves math and actually likes to go to the library, they say no to the calculator. Sophie's problem now is how to get the calculator without her parents' help. Unbeknownst to her, three of her classmates also have problems with their parents that would require a genius to solve. Luckily, Sophie is one. In exchange for the cold hard cash she needs to buy the Pembo Q-60, Sophie undertakes to help Daisy avoid dance recitals under the tutelage of the terrible Ms. Robespierre, to help Owen get the rabbit he wants for his birthday instead of the more "exciting" animal his mother thinks he should have, and to help Julia get the scoop that will keep her in the reporters' club instead of moving to the math team where her father wants her to be. In the end, some surprising developments give each child what he or she wants most, and Sophie gets something she didn't even want--friends.

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