Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Socks

Shea, Bob. 2007. NEW SOCKS. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013574. [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]

Sometimes the most pleasurable things in life are the simple things – like a new pair of socks! Likewise, the simple illustrations and frank conversational text of this exciting picture book make for a highly pleasurable reading experience. No character has ever been more fun than this bright yellow, kidney-shaped chicken with black horned-rim glasses. From “waving” the socks across the page, to descending down a slide sock-footed, to phoning the President about the new socks, the chick’s excitement over his new footwear is highly contagious for readers and listeners.

Using black, white, and three colors, the author-illustrator has created a character that speaks to the reader in a second-person style that encourages interaction with the text. The bright orange and yellow of the socks and chicken mingle distinctly with the light aqua highlights and the black-and-white text. Full-page spreads of the socks and the bird lure youngsters to the page whether reading alone or enjoying a read-aloud. Phrases like, “Orange must be my size!” and, “Hey, New Socks, I’d like you to meet someone…. Wood Floor!” delight youngsters with intended silliness. Shea has masterfully connected to children (and adults) by relating the enjoyment felt by anyone donning new clothing, and translating that enthusiasm to the page with pure fun.

To share in the chicken’s experience, readers and listeners would do well to shed their shoes and don their own sets of new socks. Waving new socks in response to portions of the book, slipping and sliding on hard surfaces, and mimicking a phone call to the President would provide great physical fun.

Other picture books about socks:
Munsch, Robert N. SMELLY SOCKS. ISBN 043964948X
Seuss, Dr. FOX IN SOCKS. ISBN 0394800389

By Rebecca McKee

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