From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4-This picture book might attract young detectives who are in the mood for a little intrigue as well as readers who want to discover a little something about New York City. Unfortunately, they may feel let down by its mystery aspect and be completely overloaded on Big Apple factoids. Zoe Sophia's great aunt is coming to do research for her new book, Enchanted Nile: Egyptian Magic in Victorian England (1837-1901)
. The mystery involves a scarab with supposed magical powers, now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although the child and her aunt find the missing diary of the Pink Phoenix's former owner, they don't reveal its contents, so readers never discover the scarab's secret. The bright, cartoon-style illustrations resemble a scrapbook and make for an engaging visual experience, but do not make up for the jumbled nature of the story. While the Manhattan references may appeal to adults, there are so many details jammed into the frame of the story that children may feel left in the dust. Add this only if Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook: An Adventure in Venice
(Chronicle, 2003) is popular.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
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Gr. 1-3. In Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook
(2003), the eponymous, sprout-haired nine-year-old traveled from her Manhattan home to Venice, where she had adventures with her beloved great-aunt Dorothy. In this title, it's Dorothy's turn to visit, and Zoe Sophia is delighted to show her the sights. A subplot about the search for a rare diary isn't well integrated. Even so, the charming, detailed watercolor-and-ink illustrations, inventive scrapbook layouts, and Zoe Sophia's tour of her privileged life (including her classroom at the Wildendorf School for the Exceptionally Curious) will draw some interest, as will the view of Manhattan landmarks--from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Empire State Building. Many kids will envy the adoration Zoe Sophia shares with her energetic, free-spirited great-aunt Dorothy.^B This isn't a necessary purchase, but it's a visually rich picture book for reading alone or aloud, and teachers may want to share it with kids as a starting point for scrapbook projects about their daily lives and favorite relatives. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved