Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich is a picturebook currently scheduled for release on April 15 2017. Unfortunately, Phoebe's name doesn’t look quite like it sounds. At school, her classmates practice writing their names, but Phoebe struggles. Her teacher tells her to “just sound it out.” Phoebe doubts herself and procrastinates before resolving to try. Readers are privy to her funny, endearing interior monologue and little-kid rationale as she writes the result: FEEBY.
Phoebe Sounds It Out is a sweet and endearing story that relates the struggles of a young lady trying to sound out her name, which is not spelled like it sounds. Her rationalizations are sound, and she eventually does exactly what her teacher asks of her, she writes her name out just like it sounds. The art work is charming and ads a good amount of details, particularly the frustration and actions of Phoebe as she delays her task and then searches for clues to help her in her task. I enjoyed the fact that the story does not make fun of her struggles, and shows that making the effort and doing your best is the important part, not getting things perfect, or even right, on the first try. I really enjoyed the story, which is particularly relatable to anyone that has struggled with spelling, in particular those of us with first or last names that defy phonetic spelling.