Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley

by Stephanie Greene
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Not overly fantastic but a good solid read, especially around one’s birthday. Sophie is spunky and zany and loves animals; this combination leads her to the natural conclusion that her parents should buy her a baby gorilla for her birthday. With typical little kid enthusiasm, she is unable to see the financial implications for a family that is struggling to make ends meet (though she acknowledges this reality in other ways) nor the complicated situation of what to do once the gorilla is no longer a baby. In the end, her friends and family rally to give her, not what she thinks she wants, but a perfect present for her nonetheless. Sophie also transitions to having her own room as her older sister graduates to the attic space (a plot twist that entertainingly reminded me of the Brady Bunch episode in which Greg and Marcia trade off their attic room).

Once again, it became clear as I finished the book that it was not the first in the series. I liked Sophie, but I’m not sure I liked her enough to read more. Partly I thought figuring out all her siblings was difficult, but that was probably because I hadn’t read the first book! I did love her ideas though. Overall, pretty solid with a nice, feel-good ending.

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