When Sophie Thinks She Can't...
When Sophie Thinks She Can't...

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Annotation: Sophie is discouraged because she always struggles with math and puzzles--until her teacher shows her the hidden value of "try" and "yet."
Catalog Number: #158539
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-15298-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-0823-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-15298-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-0823-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017009703
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
[=With]While working on a tangram puzzle, Sophie (most recently from When Sophie's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt) believes it when her big sister says she's not smart ("I can't do ANYTHING!"). Happily, her teacher helps Sophie and her classmates learn to persist in solving (math) problems. Bang presents the compelling emotional arc of a realistic child; her vibrant colors feature racially diverse and variously abled students.
Kirkus Reviews
Sophie gets really, really discouraged.Bang's latest offering about blonde, white, emotive Sophie promotes a growth mindset as it details her shift from discouragement to perseverance. While the expressive style of Bang's vibrant, gouache paintings will be familiar to those who know the previous Sophie titles (When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry…, 1999, etc.), this story seems more text-heavy than its predecessors. This difference isn't detrimental to the book, however, which begins with a hurtful experience at home. This causes Sophie to adopt a fixed mindset that she isn't smart enough to succeed in school when her teacher presents a math problem. Sophie's friends also struggle, and then their teacher introduces them to "the Most Important Word…YET. You haven't figured it out…YET." These interactions take place in a classroom populated by diverse students and led by a black teacher, and with her encouragement, Sophie and her classmates keep working to solve the problem in their own ways. The resulting shift to a growth mindset makes them believe they can make progress in their learning. Their teacher celebrates their success at the book's end, and then Sophie brings her newfound confidence home and uses it to help her father work through a project that's stumped him. Like the Little Engine before her, Sophie now thinks she can, and that makes all the difference. Bang explains the concepts and her collaboration with educator Stern in an author's note.Sure to be a staple in classrooms everywhere. (Picture book. 3-7)
Publishers Weekly
Sophie, the blonde child first seen in Bang-s Caldecott Honor-winning When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry..., struggles with self-confidence and problem-solving in her third picture book. After her sister ridicules her for
School Library Journal
POPGr 13 Bang and her eponymous character have guided children through the emotional ups and downs of When Sophie Gets AngryReally, Really Angry and When Sophie's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt , now address frustration and feelings of inadequacy when the child is unable to complete a tangram puzzle at home, then a math challenge at school. However, under the guidance of a teacher with a positive, can-do attitude who encourages her students to try harder and use the word "yet" when faced with a difficult challenge (as in, "I haven't solved it yet"), Sophie and classmates are introduced to a growth mind-set approach to problem solving. Readers and listeners can attempt to try the puzzle on their own ("build a bigger rectangle out of twelve small squares"), and will observe that there is more than one way to solve this particular challenge (and perhaps others) as evidenced in the story. As in other titles by this author/illustrator, vibrant colors form the backdrop of many spreads and the figures, outlined in these yellow, red, or green, radiate energy and emotion. An author's note discusses the book's origin and explains the difference between "fixed" and "growth" mind-sets. Endpapers include a picture of a tangram and a definition, and some of the animal shapes said to have been created "from traditional tangram puzzle pieces." VERDICT While purposeful, this book belongs on classroom and school library shelves and should be shared, especially with children who are easily frustrated. Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (1/1/18)
Word Count: 584
Reading Level: 2.5
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 193767 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.1 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q72878
Lexile: 520L
Guided Reading Level: Y

When Sophie can't solve a math puzzle, she feels upset and inadequate. "I CAN'T DO IT!" she shouts, expressing the frustration all of us feel when we try and fail. Will she ever be "smart" like her sister? Maybe she isn't smart at all.

Luckily Sophie's teacher steps in. What does it mean to be smart? Using current, popular "mindset" techniques, Sophie's class is taught that we get smarter when we exercise our brains, such as when we work harder at solving a puzzle. Struggling to solve a problem doesn't mean "I can't do it!" Sophie and her classmates just can't do it... yet!

Readers will cheer when Sophie finally prevails, and at the end of the day, she's confident and optimistic. At home, Sophie uses her new technique to help her dad solve a carpentry puzzle.

In this third book about Sophie, Molly Bang again helps children deal with a challenging everyday issue, providing an opening to ask: What do you do when you think, "I can't!"?


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