Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Desperately Seeking Socks: Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?" by Eve Bunting



Anyone who has ever lost something important, especially something brand new, knows exactly what Duck is going through.

His new blue socks are nowhere around. His first thought is to look in his box--a catchall place where (apparently) anything can be found--except his new blue socks.

He's just had them. They can't be far. But where?

Duck pokes his head out the window and asks friend Fox if he's seen them.

Negative. But Fox suggests he ask Mr. Ox.

Mr. Ox is busy painting a portrait of an apple tree. Thoughtfully he suggests that he has seen some socks down by the rocks.

There are socks--all over the rocks--but none are blue... or new!

Duck is duly disappointed, but before he despairs, he decides to query the peacocks.  After all, they really get around, strutting all over showing off their fine feathers. Mom and Pop Peacock try to be helpful.

But only Peacock Jr. spots some blue and points out the clue.

It's the first place you'd expect socks to be, but apparently the last place Duck would think to look, in Eve Bunting's just published Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

Blessed with rhythmic rhymes so right that preschoolers will be anticipating the end of each classically Seussian couplet, Bunting's storytelling perfectly captures the rising panic as Duck seeks his beloved new blue socks. In perfect tandem,  Sergio Ruzzier's illustrations are matched to the text, some in spot art against their white pages, some full-color, double-page spreads. Duck's tiny eyebrows completely convey his rising concern, beetling when he finds nothing but pink and purple socks on the rocks, hopeful when he queries the Peacocks, surprised when he looks inside his own shoes, and rapturous as he rejoices to find them right on his own two feet. This is one of those picture books which couldn't be more perfect. Even the youngest preschoolers will feel Duck's pain at his loss, but will no doubt spot the telltale touch of blue just visible above one shoe long before Duck discerns the obvious place where his socks are hiding.

With easy-reading rhymes that beginning readers will zip through, this story in rhyme is spot-on in its pacing and satisfying right down to the final page, as our forgetful Duck joyfully waddles off, admiring his new, blue socks, but still in character, leaving his shoes behind, with the perplexed Peacocks looking on as if to say, "It figures!"

Almost all of the pre-publication reviewers--Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Horn Book--assigned this one starred reviews, and kids will agree, Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? is a sock search with all the right stuff.

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