Nothing says comfy like a couch. But what if the family sofa comes with a wacky-looking blue creature instead of a decorative pillow? Such is the dilemma faced by a family in this quirky picture book. When young Sophie's overzealous pup, Roscoe, chomps up the old couch, the search is on for a replacement. Dad finds the perfect model at the rummage yard even though a blue Muppet-like fellow seems permanently attached to it. Back at home, Sophie's family can't get any response from the guy-who, doctors say, suffers from extreme "upholsterosis," the ultimate couch-potato state-until an urgent situation arises and the family's new blue buddy saves Sophie from harm. Slonim's (Oh Ducky! A Chocolate Calamity) multimedia paintings are both silly and clever in their depiction of a boisterous, take-charge clan. (Laugh-out-loud parental efforts to chase away the unwanted guest include a plunger pull, scraping fingernails on a chalkboard and playing the bagpipes.) Sophie's wild blond hair and bright eyes render her an endearing kid. And by book's end, Roscoe's teething tendencies ensure material for a sequel-even if it's one just imagined by readers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The family needs a new couch. After a long day of futile searching they spot one they like. But who is that strange creature who seems to be stuck on it? Sophie, our curious narrator, wants to keep him. Her dad says "no," but the silent fellow will not leave. The doctor suggests that for his "acute case of upholsterosis" he needs to "get out more." But after unsuccessful trips to the Grand Canyon, the beach, and Washington D.C. they decide they will just have to get used to him there on the couch. They are soon glad, for one day, when Sophie falls from the tree, he pushes the couch out the window to catch her. When it is time for a new chair, he comes along, and meets a new strange character who "comes with the chair." The brief, tongue-in-cheek text leaves plenty of room for the oil-paint, pencil, and ball-point-pen comic illustrations which provide the emotional content. The bulbous blue-headed character remains with even mouth immobile until the end when he manages a slight smile. The family, meanwhile, expresses depression, consternation, andin one scene complete with bagpipeswild desperation. The family dog does the damage that causes the need for the new couch in the beginning. Near the end, it is the chair that is in tatters, necessitating the new chaircomplete with orange-hued round-nosed female decked in pearls. Silly fun for sure. 2005, Chronicle Books, Ages 4 to 8.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
K-Gr 3-Sophie's family needs a new couch. After a full day of searching, they finally find one that is just right. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, it comes with an odd-looking creature that just sits in the middle of the cushion. Resembling one of Jim Henson's Muppets, the creature, readers learn, suffers from "upholsterosis" and on doctor's orders that they get him out more, the family takes the sofa and the newcomer on a cross-country journey. Slonim's very funny picture book will appeal to children with a taste for the zany. Told from Sophie's point of view, the understated text is often at hilarious juxtaposition with the illustrations. The colorful artwork will appeal to fans of David Shannon's work as will the tongue-in-cheek storytelling. Libraries looking for a book that generates laughs need look no further.-Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Sophie's family needs a new couch and finally finds one at Larry's 24 Hour Rummage. However, a strange figure comes with it: The "thing" has a blue head and feet, a shock of purple hair and a tuberous yellow nose. Although Sophie wants to keep him, her parents say "No," except they can't budge him. The doctor says it's an acute case of "upholsterosis" and he needs to get out more. So off they all go, couch in tow, to the Grand Canyon, the beach and Washington, D.C., but he never leaves the couch, until back home, when Sophie falls out of a tree, he tosses the couch out the window to break her fall. The wacky illustrations are a vehicle for the brief text that relies on the textured oil-paint-and-pen-on-linen artwork to educe the silliness, exaggerate the quirkiness and add goofy details like the couch sitting at the base of the Lincoln Memorial. Sophie looks to be more boy than girl, though her name is the one clue. This shaggy-dog story about a "couch potato" might amuse some, but overall, this is more of a dud spud. (Picture book. 5-7)