Sophie works for weeks to earn the money for a one-of-a-kind stuffed hedgehog in the toy store window, but as she gets close to reaching her goal, she notices a homeless man on the street and follows her conscience.
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An honest presentation of a contemporary problem, by an author who has explored moral issues with unusual insight in books for older children (A Good Courage, 1988). Sophie's energies are devoted to earning enough money to buy an endearing toy hedgehog. She's an only child with an allergic mother, precluding a pet; she's also sure that ``Weldon'' will supplant snooty Veronica's doll at a school Toyland celebration. Meanwhile, a homeless man and his sign--``I'm hungry''--prey on her conscience; as she tries to earn the $40 for Weldon, she worries about the man and finally gives him half her money. A disarmingly simple narrative, with telling details slipped in naturally: Sophie offers to help her mother, who is so grateful that Sophie decides not to ask for pay; skipping school lunch to save money, she finds that her hunger feeds her sympathy for the man. A realistic, inconclusive discussion between Sophie and her mother gently summarizes the tangled issues surrounding handouts to the homeless. In the end, the man remains an unknown who simply disappears; Sophie has acted from motives and understanding that have grown over the course of the story; and she does get the hedgehog--too late for the school competition, but that's no longer important. A thoughtful, intelligent, and appealing book, with respect for its young readers and for the problem it explores. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 3-4-- Tolan has written a meaningful novel that is infused with the spirit of Christmas, but her story of an eight-year-old girl's compassion for a homeless man is too good to stow away in holiday collections. More than anything, Sophie wants an expensive stuffed hedgehog, christened Weldon, that she talks to through the shop window in which it is displayed. Saving her money carefully, and always trying to earn more, Sophie worries that Weldon will be sold. In the meantime, she has noticed a street person who sits by a sign that says, ``I'm hungry. Please help.'' As she foregoes lunch to save money for the coveted toy, she learns the meaning of hunger and becomes concerned about the man. A turning point occurs when she sees him give half of his limp sandwich to a stray cat, and she makes a difficult but caring and mature choice. The black-and-white line drawings, although simple, are realistic and complement the emotions of the text. This story will really hit home, right where kids' feelings are. It's an excellent read-aloud and a fine basis for discussion. --Susannah Price, Boise Public Library, ID
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Pu, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110027893650
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0027893650 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0006072
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0027893650