Review Blog

Oct 24 2016

The great sock secret by Susan Whelan

cover image

Ill. by Gwyneth Jones. EK Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925335248
It is one of the great mysteries of our times. Ever since washing machines were automated and readily available, pairs of socks have been forever separated, never to meet their match again. And Sarah's house is no different - there is a basket full of odd socks and her mum is on a mission to find their partners.
But Sarah knows where they are - the fairy families that live in her house are masters at repurposing them for all sorts of fun and games - and she is desperate that her mother not discover the truth. She even suggests that they take Max the puppy for a walk instead but her mother is not to be deterred or distracted and so the great sock hunt begins. However, even though she searches high and low, in cupboards, behind doors, in the bathroom, under the furniture, and in brother Thomas's bedroom, her mother's eyes are not as sharp as Sarah's and she does not see what is really happening with the socks. But when she is satisfied with the two she does find Sarah breathes a sigh of relief - until her mother suggests that they now start searching for lost pens...
This is an utterly charming story from the team that created the outstanding Don't think about purple elephants that reminded me of The borrowers by Mary Norton (and which would be a great read-together serial as a follow-on.) Like Sarah, the reader has to have sharp eyes to find what has happened to the socks because so much of the story is in the wonderful illustrations - a trait of perfect picture books in my opinion.
Young children will take great delight in seeing what adults can't as they try to spot all the fairies as well as suggesting what else they might use the socks for. Maybe that is where all the missing socks in their homes have disappeared to - watch them go searching but don't let them tell! Miss 5 loved this - we read it over and over during a recent visit and there was something new to discover each time! And yes, The borrowers will be the next family serial.
Barbara Braxton

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