Monday, October 12, 2020

Review - Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert, Is a Detective Genius

Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert, Is a Detective Genius

by Morag Hood
illustrated by Ella Okstad
Date: 2019
Publisher: Aladdin
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Sophie Johnson studied very hard to become a detective and it's a good thing she did – there has been a terrible crime!

Someone has stolen Lion's tail. Unfortunately, this means that Sophie doesn't have time to train her new (and not very good) assistant, Bella.

However, is it possible that, while Sophie is busy rounding up suspects, she doesn't see that Bella may be better than she thinks?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I liked the first Sophie Johnson book much better than this one.

Sophie's still oblivious, and there is a unicorn in here, but... it's mainly a story about her dog, Bella. While Sophie is trying to solve a "crime", Bella has already solved it. And the dog also manages to thwart three burglars at the same time.

I did not like the burglar aspect. Sophie and her baby sibling are at home, seemingly alone, when three men break in. I don't care that they're dressed like elves; it's still creepy (perhaps more creepy because they're dressed like elves)! Rather than doing what a child should do in such a situation (call 911), Sophie is shown being completely oblivious while the men break into the house. Bella catches them, but in an unrealistic way involving banana peels and cookware. I'm not sure what the message is supposed to be here, and making light of a terrifying situation seems a little irresponsible.

The schtick worked in the first book where Sophie was oblivious about the unicorn in her own house. (The same unicorn is here, and she still seems not to have noticed!) But being oblivious about home invaders? That just doesn't work in a children's book.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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