The Saga of the Single Sock
Simon Sock by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, illustrated by Nick East
Simon is an odd sock who longs to belong to a pair so that he can go on adventures like all the other socks. The sparkly socks get to go to parties, the woollies go to the park and the smart socks go to school. But a lone sock like Simon never gets chosen to go anywhere.
Simon’s friend Ted tries to find a match for him with extremely entertaining and ill-fated consequences. Using the criteria that a partner for Simon must be stripy, Ted suggestions grow increasingly inappropriate. Poor Simon is alternately chased, squashed and bored. Will Simon be a single sock forever, or can he find a compatible, ahem, “sole” mate?
Simon Sock celebrates individuality and demonstrates how it’s OK to be different and have friends who are different to you. Simon has difficulty finding a compatible companion when he and Ted focus solely on potential partners with a similar appearance to him. The story explains that you don’t have to look the same or “match” to make a “great pair.”
Described as “delightfully daft” by The Observer, this story is enormous fun, but also delivers a powerful message about the importance of staying true to yourself. Simon doesn’t settle for a partner with whom he has no shared interests. Simon never sacrifices his values for the sake of a friendship, nor changes aspects of himself in order to be accepted.
The different creatures and objects that are introduced to Simon by Ted, and Simon’s corresponding reactions, are hilarious. The paired-sock scenarios that Simon daydreams about are very funny too, as is the ending, which I won’t spoil.
Authors Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet are married and apparently also make a great pair! I think this is only the second book reviewed on this blog which has been created by a husband and wife team (see also Tangram Cat).
Hendra and Linnet have written the bestselling Barry the Fish with Fingers as well as the Supertato series, among others. They have won many awards including the Lollies Laugh Out Loud award. Hendra's Wanda and the Alien has been adapted for television and broadcast in almost 70 countries.
Nick East is a museum designer as well as the illustrator of several runaway successes such as Toto the Ninja Cat by Dermot O’Leary, Goodnight Spaceman by Michelle Robinson and the fantastic Knock Knock collection by Caryl Hart.
East’s illustrations are extremely engaging, lively and colourful, and will appeal to young children. There isn’t a lot of text, so this story could easily be read to a baby (and is also available in a board format). At the same time, there’s enough happening to amuse an older child, up to the age of five or six.
Simon Sock would be a helpful for parents of children beginning to make friends for the first time, especially if their child finds this challenging. Anyone who has ever felt a little odd or struggled to find a suitable companion will relate to Simon! This cheerful and uplifting story would brighten up any bookshelf.
Title: Simon Sock
Authors: Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet
ISBN: 9781444936810 (paperback), 9781444950816 (board book) Publication date: 5th October 2017