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by Sarah Naish, Rosie Jefferies and Amy Farrell
Jessica Kingsley Publishers , 2016
Review by Christian Perring on Apr 18th 2017

Sophie Spikey Has a Very Big Problem

This UK book for young children tells the story of Sophie who is very young and is living with her new parents. We don't learn what happened to her old parents, but we do find out that Sophie had to learn to do a lot on her own when she was extremely young. Now, she doesn't like to be helped and is suspicious of people who try to help her. One day she and her Mum are going to go out shopping, but Sophie can't find her new shoes. So she gets out her old shoes from the trash can and gets a wet foot walking around. When her Mum notices, she works out what has gone wrong and talks her through the problem. They have a cup of hot chocolate, get some 'emergency plimsolls," and go back home and find the new shoes under the bed. Sophie becomes a bit more ready to ask for help and to trust adults.

The illustrations are very sweet, especially showing Sophie struggling with how to cope in her new world. We see how unhappy and angry she ca get, and also how she fears the reactions of adults. They will help young children understand the words about the struggles with thoughts and feelings they experience. There is also a short section at the end of the book for parents  and carers to explain some of the details of the story, with some discussion of when physically holding or giving a reassuring touch can be helpful.

Some of the wording is very British, including the word "plimsolls" and the spelling of "Mum" rather than "Mom." But these features would probably not be much of a problem for most readers.


© 2017 Christian Perring


Christian Perring is Vice President of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry.

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