Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Stupendous Socktastic Silliness!

Posted on | April 12, 2012 | 11 Comments

Socks by Nick Sharratt and Elizabeth Lindsay has been putting smiles on our faces recently. It’s full of good old fashioned nonsense, silly humour, fun wordplay and exuberant illustrations. All in all, it’s perfect for the youngest of kids, and their grown-ups, who like to make silly voices, enjoy a read with a good rhythm and love playing with language.

Mixing Lear-esque linguistic creations with Anthony Brown’s shape game, Sharratt and Lindsay take the humble sock and turn it into all sorts of everything. There’s a socksophone, a socktopus, and Goldisocks dancing through these pages; a sock may be a simple starting point but it can take you anywhere!

Alongside Sharratt’s sock mutations, the text is bouncy and ever so slightly bonkers. For example

For Socktown take a seat
There everybody’s wearing socks
And not just on their FEET!

You can read a longer excerpt for yourself on the publisher’s dedicated Socks page by clicking here. I can imagine some more traditional readers feeling uncomfortable with the linguistic tomfoolery, but I think young listeners everywhere will love it!

It turns out that Nick Sharratt and socks have a some what meaningful relationship. Of course there’s his Octopus, Soctopus but actually socks and him, and his career as a writer and illustrator go way back. He revealed some of this long and special history during the recent Biggest Book Show on Earth – if you go to about 1 hour and 16 minutes into the video available to view on demand at the World Book Day website, you’ll see Nick Sharratt in conversation with Jacqueline Wilson for about 10 minutes. They talk about their work together, but also about how socks played a very important role when they first met! At 1 hour 20 minutes there’s a section specifically about the book Socks, and you can see Nick drawing a sockodile, a hipposockomus and the sock ness monster.

Having read the book we first made some sock puppets using just a couple of socks from our LARGE odd sock pile.

We sewed buttons and wool onto our socks using tapestry needles (big and fairly blunt, so easy for little hands to use).

We also stuck pieces of felt on for noses.

Next we made some sock prints. First we cut out a sock shape from a polystyrene tray and printed sock shapes with it all over a piece of card.

Once the socks were dry we converted the socks into all manner of things…

Whilst drawing sock creatures and making our sock puppets we listened to:

  • One Shoe Blues by Sandra Boynton performed by B.B. King! Yes Sandra Boynton AND B.B. King! Just amazing! Please do play the video below and put a smile on your face :-) A big thank you to Zooglobble who yet again came up trumps with this:

    This is a video of the making of One Shoe Blues – definitely worth just under 8 minutes of your time!
  • I Love Socks by The Paisley Pickles
  • The One Sock Jam by Mr. Scott ‘the Music Man’
  • Sock Monkey by The String Beans

  • Other activities you could enjoy alongside reading Socks include:

  • Making a sock-mobile – here’s a tutorial from Family Fun
  • Creating a quilt out of all your partner-less socks
  • Creating a wreath or chunky rug out of odd socks!

  • Have you got a favourite pair of socks? I do – a blue pair of walking socks which I use instead of slippers.

    You know I love comments and talking with you all, but I am STILL without regular internet access (this was a scheduled post) – so rest assured I WILL get in touch just as soon as I can (hopefully late this week or early next week). Do leave a friendly comment to cheer me up :-)

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    11 Responses to “Stupendous Socktastic Silliness!”

    1. Elli
      April 12th, 2012 @ 12:38 am

      I’m obviously not a ‘traditional reader’ as I absolutely adore Sharratt’s wordplay (which I actually like way more than his illustrations).
      Elli recently posted..D.I. Why?

    2. choxbox
      April 12th, 2012 @ 2:10 am

      Sounds sooper!

      Err.. we also have a rather LARGE pile of odd socks :)

    3. Damyanti
      April 12th, 2012 @ 2:59 am

      I have a pair with pink flamingoes which I’m very fond of, but anything with polka dots is always good. I love the look of this book, we are big fans of Elephant Wellephant just thinking about the choco-caramelephant is making me hungry

    4. Jen
      April 12th, 2012 @ 4:48 am

      How could anyone not love linguistic tomfoolery? (Lovely turn of phrase, btw)
      Jen recently posted..What Are You Reading? Wednesday

    5. Melanie Grant
      April 12th, 2012 @ 5:21 am

      I so love the sock art, reminds me of another series of books which had different characters but they were all dots – Mr Happy, Mr Smiley (ring any bells?) Anyway I could just so imagine book upon book about socks. How’s that for awakening the inner child in me.
      Melanie Grant recently posted..What is your most important role : Mom or Wife?

    6. Emma @Sciencesparks
      April 12th, 2012 @ 8:54 am

      Sounds fab! We have a lot of odd socks too! I love your puppets and paintings. xx
      Emma @Sciencesparks recently posted..Fun Sparks and a Lung!

    7. Barbara
      April 12th, 2012 @ 11:01 am

      What fun! I have a pink flowery pair (socks that is!) that I love above all others.
      Barbara recently posted..Book of the week; Two from a teapot

    8. Zoe
      April 13th, 2012 @ 7:30 am

      Hi Elli,
      I think I could have added that non confident adult readers might find this a bit too wacky – I’ve recently been talking with staff at the girls’ schools about how they can help engage parents to read more with their kids. Sg that came up was how some parents don’t feel comfortable being “silly” and prefer books that they can read without “making a fool of themselves” (even if kids love that)

    9. Zoe
      April 13th, 2012 @ 7:31 am

      Hi Damyanti, I love the sound of the pink flamingoes. Rather more elegant than the ones I’m wearing at the moment with a HUGE hole….

    10. Zoe
      April 13th, 2012 @ 7:33 am

      Thanks Melanie. The book doesn’t ring any bells for me at the moment, but I’ll let it drift in my brain and something might come up!

    11. Zoe
      April 13th, 2012 @ 7:33 am

      Thank you Barbara, Emma, choxbox and Jen. It seems that our homes are full of odd socks!

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