Giraffes--Fiction Grandmothers--Fiction Pet Care--Fiction Science--Fiction (Grades Preschool-2)

The Trouble with Giraffes: Two Problems for Sophia by Jim Averbeck

Sophia has achieved her heart’s desire–her giraffe Noodle for a pet. But Noodle has a long tongue and when he feels affectionate, he bends down and comes in for a big–SLURP!

He was especially fond of Grand-mama.

The feeling was not mutual.

“And besides, he snores,” she says.

So Sophia has two problems, perdurable problems as Grand-mama puts it–slurping and snoring.

But Sophia is a scientist, so she conducts some research with a leader in the field of giraffe tongues.

“Noodles neck-to-lung capacity ration creates a giant echo chamber,” said Ms. Canticle, an acoustical engineer.

In layman’s language, his neck is too long. But Sophia knows that long necks are part of what makes a giraffe a giraffe. The professor suggests teaching Noodle to twist and change the shape of his neck, but the results are negative.

And now Father complains that Noodle is not worth the costs of his upkeep, which are perpetual.

Sophia has learned two new words but still has no solutions. Ms. Canticle suggests some sound baffles, so Sophia constructs noise-reduction ear gear prototypes for the whole family. But they can’t wear them all the time. Uncle Conrad demands an abiding solution to the snoring problem.

So Sophia designs a sound transformer for Noodles’ snores.

Can Sophia’s science come up with an abiding, perpetual, and perdurable solution to the problem? Can Grand-mama come up with a way to muzzle Noodle’s sloppy nuzzle?

It’s science plus family feeling to the rescue in Jim Averbeck’s Two Problems for Sophia (Margaret K. Elderderry Books, 2018). As in their first book, One Word from Sophia, Yasmeen Ismail’s spotchy, blobby illustrations and Sophia’s perseverance make for a funny and fun “Can-I-Keep-Him” pet tale with a penchant for science and vocabulary. As Bulletin for Children’s Books starred review says, “A welcome addition to positive portrayals of young girl STEM enthusiasts…. This makes an outstanding readaloud.”

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