Oscar: The Big Adventure of a Little Sock Monkey

Overview

When Oscar's best friend, Susie Green, forgets to bring the key for her pet rabbit's cage to the pet show, he embarks on an adventure of epic proportions. Oscar learns to read a map, navigates a city, and defeats a bully ? all in a day's work for this intrepid little sock monkey!

Amy Schwartz and Leonard S. Marcus have crafted a sweet, funny story that proves that even little sock monkeys can accomplish big things.

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Overview

When Oscar's best friend, Susie Green, forgets to bring the key for her pet rabbit's cage to the pet show, he embarks on an adventure of epic proportions. Oscar learns to read a map, navigates a city, and defeats a bully — all in a day's work for this intrepid little sock monkey!

Amy Schwartz and Leonard S. Marcus have crafted a sweet, funny story that proves that even little sock monkeys can accomplish big things.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“This charmer is sure to please any child who has counted on a toy for solace.”
New York Times Book Review
“Cheerful and optimistic.”
Publishers Weekly
A husband-and-wife team spins a tale about a sock monkey caught up in a series of adventures while trying to help a friend. Readers young and old will appreciate the narrative's wry tone: "Now, Susie was a fine girl, but a bit forgetful." Oscar is more than just a stuffed toy: "He kept track of Susie's barrettes. He freshened Cottontail's water when Susie forgot. And he pulled up her blankets at night." It is no wonder then that the level-headed Oscar is destined to deliver the lost key to Cottontail's cage in time for Susie's school pet show presentation. But before readers can assign to the stuffed hero an "all work and no play" attitude, Oscar gets sidetracked by a number of distractions. Schwartz's (What James Likes Best) whimsical drawings depict a modern-day world where people go about their business, oblivious to Oscar. When he lands inside a jacket pocket, the active cityscape goes black, narrowing the scope and forcing readers-and Oscar-to regain focus. With an eventual fait accompli, the plush hero, "one ounce of cotton happiness" has a smile on his face once again. So too will readers of this charming story with a satisfying ending. Ages 3-7. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Oscar, an ordinary-looking brown sock monkey, becomes the hero of an exciting, imaginative adventure in New York City. When he realizes that Susie has taken her pet rabbit Cottontail to school for the pet show but forgotten the key to the cage, Oscar goes into action. Carefully he plots his course on a map. He has never been outside on his own, but bravely he goes down into the subway, gets a lift in a potted plant, has a delicious interlude in a box of chocolate cupcakes, helps stop a bully from spraying a puppy on the way into the school, then finds himself trapped in the bully's pocket. With the help of the friendly puppy he manages to get the key into Susie's pocket just in time. Then Oscar, "...one ounce of cotton happiness, began to plan his way home." We can only guess at his future adventures. Although an urban fantasy, the story is visualized by Schwartz as a slice of real city life. Oscar's tale is visualized in vignettes and single and double-pages in large areas of color, a style that tends to keep the action measured, even a bit surreal and silent. He remains a perky, unflappable hero. The photo of the "real" Oscar can be found on the flap of the jacket. 2006, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The opening scene invites readers into the bedroom of three best friends: Susie, Cottontail, and Oscar. After the somewhat scattered girl heads off to school for the pet show, rabbit cage in tow, Oscar finds the key. Realizing that Susie needs it, the intrepid, pint-size sock monkey charts his first trip alone into the city. He delights in extra turns in the revolving apartment door, dancing to music on the subway platform, and landing in a passenger's bag of cupcakes. He arrives at school in time to distract a bully, but becomes his next victim. Viewers are pulled into the dark world of the boy's pocket, where Oscar, in his burnt sienna splendor, manages a burst of bravado and a series of acrobatics to provide the key in the nick of time-surreptitiously, of course. The authors blend just the right amount of tension and good fortune to engage and satisfy young audiences. The brisk pacing, uncluttered compositions, and clear, descriptive language make this a first choice for groups or individuals. A cheerful palette and a multicultural cast depict a world that is full of interest and ripe with adventure-especially for those who are open to opportunity.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A small sock monkey tackles the big city in an attempt to save the day in this husband-and-wife collaboration. Oscar lives with his two best friends, Susie and her rabbit, Cottontail. On the morning of the school pet show, Oscar finds Susie has forgotten the key to Cottontail's cage. Accustomed to taking care of her and her belongings, Oscar realizes it's up to him to get the key to Susie's school. He uses a map to plan his route and sets off on the subway, where he cleverly dodges several potential obstacles. But when he distracts a bully so his victim can escape, he is captured himself. He cunningly devises a way out, finds Susie and drops the key into her pocket. Schwartz's brightly colored illustrations will be familiar to New Yorkers-from the subway cars and map to the fruit displays outside the bodegas. Readers will enjoy looking for Oscar in the city scenes. Throughout, Oscar keeps his head and stops to smell the roses, even when their thorns could prove prickly-an important subtle message about problem solving and the power of a positive attitude. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060726232
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/23/2006
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Schwartz is the author and illustrator of many picture books for children, including Begin at the Beginning; Things I Learned in Second Grade; Bea and Mr. Jones, a Reading Rainbow feature; What James Likes Best, recipient of the 2004 Charlotte Zolotow Award; and a glorious day.

Amy Schwartz is the author and illustrator of many picture books for children, including Begin at the Beginning; Things I Learned in Second Grade; Bea and Mr. Jones, a Reading Rainbow feature; What James Likes Best, recipient of the 2004 Charlotte Zolotow Award; and a glorious day.

Leonard S. Marcus is a historian, biographer, and critic whose many books include Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon; Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom; and Storied City. In addition, he has been Parenting magazine's children's book reviewer since 1987. This is his first picture book. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Amy Schwartz, and their son, Jacob.

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