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Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert, Is a Detective Genius

Illustrated by Ella Okstad

The ever-oblivious Sophie Johnson returns to solve a terrible crime using her keen skills of observation…or so she thinks!

Meet Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert and Detective Genius, ready to solve any and all crimes. Sophie Johnson studied hard to become a detective, and it’s a good thing she did as there has been an awful crime! Someone has stolen Lion’s tail. Unfortunately, Sophie doesn’t have time to train her new (and not very good) assistant puppy, Bella. But while Sophie’s busy rounding up and interrogating suspects, is it possible she misses that Bella may be a better crimefighter than she thinks?

This wonderfully humorous follow-up to Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert is another engaging tale about the confident young girl who is totally oblivious to what is happening around her.

Morag Hood is an author and illustrator who lives in Edinburgh with her husband, Snorri. After working backstage in theaters for a few years she went back to school to study children’s book illustration and has been making picture books ever since. Visit her at

Ella Okstad loves to draw ghosts, vampires, humans, cats, and all sorts of creatures. She lives and works as an illustrator in Trondheim, Norway. When she’s not in her office creating scary, cute, or peculiar creatures for books, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three boys, and a cat. Visit her at

Unicorns aren’t the only thing on which Sophie Johnson is certain she’s an expert.

Enthusiastic (and quite overconfident) unicorn expert Sophie Johnson is also a genius at detection (well, in her mind). She has studied (not the books so much as the detective TV shows), and she’s ready to solve any crime with the help of her canine assistant, Bella. In Sophie’s opinion though, Bella is not the best assistant. As is her wont, Sophie is, unknowingly, proven entirely wrong. The tail of Sophie’s stuffed lion has gone missing. Sophie sets out to discover the culprit. She interviews the suspects: a dolly, a goldfish, a toddler sibling, and various other stuffed animals. She fingerprints them. She stops for a snack because detecting is hard work. Meanwhile, in the background, Bella catches three actual thieves and gets a commendation from the police…of course Sophie doesn’t even notice. She does lock up her stuffed rabbit for the tail-napping, and she’s certain criminals would be everywhere if she weren’t so vigilant. This sequel to Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert (2018) is as fizzy as its predecessor. The colorful cartoon illustrations are full of details that tell a far different tale than Sophie’s narration. Sophie and her sibling present White, as do the would-be thieves, who are dressed in outlandishly conspicuous costumes that amplify the silliness. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.1% of actual size.)

Sophie’s unicorn-loving fans will enjoy her outing as a clueless detective. (Picture book. 2-7)

– Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2020

"Okstad once again offers a treat in every scene: bright colors, rainbow-colored confetti specks, adorable animals, all in a realistically chaotic living environment. Children will be entertained by multiple re-reads, each time following the antics and expressions of the baby sibling, the cat, etc. Oddly, or perhaps brilliantly, the wide-eyed, rainbow-maned unicorn of the house is never mentioned. . . VERDICT This book is sure to be popular with the sparkles-and-unicorns crowd, dog lovers, and those who like a fun mystery.

– School Library Journal, September 25, 2020

More books from this author: Morag Hood

More books from this illustrator: Ella Okstad

More books in this series: Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert