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Children's Fiction Intermediate

Waiting for Sophie

by (author) Sarah Ellis

illustrated by Carmen Mok

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2017
Intermediate, New Baby, Multigenerational
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3


Waiting for a new baby is hard, and waiting for her to grow up into a playmate is even harder. Luckily Liam's Nana is just downstairs and always ready to help. When the two of them build a Get-Older-Faster Machine, Liam is surprised to find it's not Sophie who does the most growing up.

Waiting is hard. Liam waited through half of kindergarten for his baby sister to be born. Then, when little Sophie finally comes home, he discovers she won't be ready to play with him for a long, long time. As the months pass, everyone says that Liam is Sophie's favourite. He is the best at making her laugh and burp, but laughing and burping are not enough for Liam. With the help of Nana-Downstairs, he designs and builds a Get Older Faster Machine. It doesn't seem to work on Sophie, but maybe Sophie is not the only one doing some growing up.

In Waiting for Sophie, multi-award-winning author Sarah Ellis, known for her winsome way with words, introduces a warm, funny, down-to-earth family gracefully navigating a time of change together. Illustrator Carmen Mok renders them sweetly in approachable color illustrations.

Appealingly packaged in a hardcover book with a reinforced binding, Liam's trials, mishaps, and triumphs will speak to young readers who are making the transition to chapter books.


About the authors

Sarah Ellis is one of Canada's most-loved children's writers. A former librarian, she is a highly sought-after children's book reviewer, literary jury member and speaker who lectures internationally on Canadian children's books. She is the winner of the Governor General's Award (Pick-Up Sticks), the Mr. Christie's Award (Out of the Blue and The Several Lives of Orphan Jack) and the Sheila A. Egoff Award (The Baby Project, Back of Beyond and Odd Man Out). Further accolades for Odd Man Out include the prestigious TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List, ALA Notable Book for Older Readers, Maine State Library Cream of the Crop List and OLA Best Bets - Top 10 Fiction for Children. Sarah Ellis has also won the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. Sarah is on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sarah Ellis' profile page

Carmen Mok is a studio-art graduate of the University of Waterloo, and a crafts and design graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. Her books include Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, Look at Me Now by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones, and Ride the Big Machines in Winter. She recently illustrated Grandmother’s Visit by Betty Quan, which was named an Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Picture Book Honor Title, was on the shortlist of the IODE Ontario Jean Throop Book Award and was selected for the Ontario Library Association Best Bets List. Carmen lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Carmen Mok's profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Waiting for Sophie

"[A] down-to-earth, sweet but never mushy story. The accompanying illustrations have a simple, gentle quality that neatly matches the story. The hand-printing-style type used for the text also complements the story and is easy for readers entering the world of early chapter books to decode. Warmth and quiet humor capture the realities of a new baby in the house."—Kirkus Reviews

"[A] sweet and relatable story..."—Publishers Weekly

"This early chapter book offers a relatable story for intermediate readers, who will empathize with the frustrations of waiting for a younger sibling to become old enough to be a playmate. Cartoonish character illustrations on most pages enhance the text. VERDICT A sweet and tender addition for libraries looking for more new sibling materials or titles about patience."—School Library Journal

"[A] beautifully written chapter book about the relationship between Liam and his new baby sister Sophie....The illustrations are colourful and filled with lots of detail which adds to the narrative....This is a gentle story which will definitely appeal to young readers with siblings, as well as the adults who care for them!"—Resource Links

"Ellis' trademark wry humour comes into play almost immediately...Carmen Mok, who has many picturebook and magazine credits to her name, has graced the pages with some charming digitally-created art with the look of watercolours...Waiting for Sophie is a fine addition to library collections, especially those requiring more easy novels with contemporary themes. Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"[A] sweet story that will help youngsters understand the process of becoming an older sibling and how much patience is needed."—City Book Review

"[A]n original and heartwarming story"—Midwest Book Review

"[I]deal for a young reader who is transitioning to reading chapter books. Full of child-like imagination and silliness...[T]his book would be especially relatable to a soon-to-be big brother or sister..."—Brigham Young University, Children's Book & Media Reviews

"A cute story that teaches children about patience....Sarah Ellis has a way with words; I would read more books by her."—The Bookshelf Corner

"Sarah Ellis gives Liam a voice that is so filled with hope about his new sister and the promise of having a familial playmate that even his frustrations are natural and unfeigned....And, although Waiting for Sophie is an early reader, rather than a picture book, the illustrations by Carmen Mok augment Sarah Ellis' story with the innocence and family that the author's words already convey. Young children being challenged to read their first chapter books will appreciate this early reader as it will undoubtedly speak to them."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"Sarah Ellis tells another timeless story with beautifully chosen text and Carmen Mok matches the tone of the story perfectly with gentle images and soft colors."—Sal's Fiction Addiction

"Waiting for Sophie is a great older sibling book for younger school-age kids. Sarah Ellis not only captures the excitement of waiting for a new baby brother or sister, but also gives voice to the little frustrations kids can experience when dealing with a new baby in the house, and the desire to have a playmate their age."—Mom Read It

"This book for early readers is charming....I liked the big brother, big sister story...[and] how the adults didn't fit stereotypes. The drawings are simple, but engaging, and show the emotions of the different characters vividly....I also thought the endpapers were a neat touch, covered with pictures of hand tools."—Canadian Bookworm

"This easy chapter book is full of spunk and warmth."—Orange Marmalade, "Super Sisters and Brilliant Brothers"


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