Two Problems for Sophia – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Sooo, you’ve got that new pet you always wanted! But it comes with its own set of pet problems. Perhaps it has accidents on the floor or steals your slippers and turns them into shapeless clumps of fluff. 

But if you’re Sophia, well, she has bigger problems. Because she’s got a larger-than-life pet.

She has giraffe-size problems. Kids can already see that the laundry has been trashed by that extra long neck. But that’s not the problem that’s bugging everyone.

It’s his tongue.

“When Noodle kissed you, his eyelashes danced a little fluzzle, 

then his nose swooped in for a nuzzle, and then….”

He goes in for the slurp on Grand-mamá. Ewwwwwww.

And Noodle snores. When Noodles sleeps, no one else can. And a family that doesn’t sleep is an unhappy one.

The verdict comes from Mom:

“Noodles is guilty of robbing this family,” she said, “of sleep! I hereby order you to find a perdurable solution to his problems.” 

Yes, you read that right. Perdurable. Permanent. Forever.

Grand-mamá suggests sending him back. 

Father argues that 

“Noodle’s benefit to this family is far outweighed by his costs, which are fixed and perpetual.”

Yes, you read that right. Perpetual. Permanent. Forever.

Grand-mamá says send him back! Oh, no!

But Sophia is one determined girl. She does not rest until she creates what can only be described as the giraffe version of a C-Pap mask. Is it just me, or is this hilarious? Perhaps I’m sleep-deprived because I, too, live with someone who snores loud enough to shake the foundation. 

In any case, even Grand-mamá is won over by this solution (and by Noodle’s kisses) in the end. Because after all, Noodle is family.





You know it, right? Once you get that pet home, there’s no taking it back.

Giraffe facts (including the fact that giraffes really do snore) play important roles in the story’s development, facts that are creatively displayed on the opening page end papers.

And the last page contains a glossary of all the big words used in the story. Kids will get a kick out of saying these words, including “ossicones,” the horn-like protrusions on a giraffe’s head. 

Love the vibrant water color and colored pencil  illustrations, the multi-racial family, and the fact that this book assumes that ridiculous is normal, as some of the best picture books often do.

Title: Two Problems for Sophia

Author: Jim Averbeck

Illustrator: Yasmeen Ismail

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, McElderry Imprint, 2018

Themes: Pet problems, family harmony, STEM

25 thoughts on “Two Problems for Sophia – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Rita Russell says:

    I’m so excited to see there’s a sequel to One Word from Sophia, which introduced “big” words to kids in a fun way. Two Problems for Sophia sounds even more delightful than the first book. Thank you for your timely communique. 🙂

  2. Beth Anderson says:

    I love this book! I have become a fan of Averbeck due to Sophia as there is so much to his stories – great complexity but relayed in comprehensible format. He’s found a great way to give kids some captivating words to throw around! Never underestimate the power and capacity of young minds!! 🙂

  3. Joanna says:

    And I thought that Jim might not be able to surpass the fabulousness of One Word Sophia, but indubitably, he has outdone himself. LOVE. There are nuance and layers to all Jim’s work.

  4. Barbara Gruener says:

    This looks incredible and makes me want to read both books! LOVE it when fun new words are woven in and language celebrated.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It is unique, something that editors are always looking for when manuscripts arrive on their desks. And something that kids and parents are looking for as well when picking out new books to read.

  5. Patricia Tilton says:

    I’m not familiar with the author and the two Sophia books. But any book that introduces kids to big words, (definitions on all) is a great share in the classroom and at home. Owning a giraffe is so beyond silly that it gets the point across. Love it!

  6. Maria Marshall says:

    Jim is amazing and this was a great review of his sequel. Sophie is such a great character and I adore that he gets to use long words! There’s hope for the rest of our manuscripts. 🙂

  7. Kate Johnston says:

    Love “fuzzle” and “nuzzle” –this looks like an awesome book and a great opportunity for kids to learn more about giraffes. Those creatures need some love and support as they’re now a threatened species due to poaching. 😦 Thanks for sharing!

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