Sophie's Lucky (by Dick King-Smith)

I did enjoy Dick King Smith's stories when my sons were little, and am enjoying them all over again with some young friends. I was able to buy some of them in a charity shop a year ago, and have picked up others inexpensively online.

I did actually read 'Sophie's Lucky' to myself last Summer when I had bought it, and have just finished reading it out loud to a six-year-old friend. This volume is the last of the six children's books about the small but determined Sophie who wants to be a lady farmer when she grows up.

In this story, Sophie and her family go to stay with Sophie's Great-great Aunt Al in the Highlands. Seven-year-old Sophie, who has recently learned to ride, falls in love with a shaggy pony called Lucky. They have a wonderful holiday, and Sophie is all the more determined that she wants to live on a farm when she is older.

Then, a few weeks after returning home, they have some bad news. It was the kind of thing which I found a little surprising in a children's book - but it is sensitively handled, and leads to an unexpected and exciting surprise which gives a most satisfying conclusion to this series.

Although the Sophie books could be tackled by any reasonably confident reader of about six and above, there is quite a bit of satire and other humour that is all the better for being read aloud, and which might not be noticed or understood by a young child. The language is not dumbed down in any way, yet it's written in a fairly simple style that children seem to enjoy. I certainly did!

Best read as the last in the series, but it does also stand alone.

Note that the UK link above is to the combined 'further adventures' of Sophie, which includes not just this book, but the fourth and fifth in the series too.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 30th December 2011

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