Socks

Socks

4.5 103
by Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray, Beatrice Darwin
     
 

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Socks is the name of the newest character to be created by Beverly Cleary. He is a young tabby cat with four white paws, and he lives happily with a young married couple, Marilyn and Bill Bricker. The center of the Bricker household, Socks rules it affectionately but firmly.

Into this loving home, however, comes another pet. This creature has a small, wrinkled,

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Overview

Socks is the name of the newest character to be created by Beverly Cleary. He is a young tabby cat with four white paws, and he lives happily with a young married couple, Marilyn and Bill Bricker. The center of the Bricker household, Socks rules it affectionately but firmly.

Into this loving home, however, comes another pet. This creature has a small, wrinkled, furless face, and Mr. and Mrs. Bricker spend an inordinate amount of time trying to burp it. Its arrival fills Socks with jealousy and a terrible anxiety. How the rivalry between Socks and Charles William, the Bricker baby, turns into an alliance makes a domestic drama both touching and funny.

Although her story is about a cat and faithful to his point of view in every detail, Mrs. Cleary demonstrates with it the emotional upheaval experienced by a child who must learn to share his parents. As young readers come to understand Socks and his problems, they will gain a new understanding of themselves. But, most of all, they will laugh.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-After a rough start, and a brief internment in a mail box, Socks the cat has landed on his feet. He belongs to the Brickers-a young couple who dote on him. Then a baby arrives in the household and Socks discovers that the people he'd trained so well no longer consider him the center of their universe. This is devastating, but eventually he finds a new place that everyone can be happy with. This is an hilarious book by Beverly Cleary (Morrow, 1973), told from the cat's point of view, and Neil Patrick Harris does a slam-bang job of presenting it. He provides voices for each character but, more importantly, he reads the story with humor and expression, bringing it to life. Listeners feel a kinship with Socks and root for his success, even while acknowledging his foibles. Both children and adults with roar with laughter at Sock's antics and cringe at his misdeeds. This is a great production that deserves to be enjoyed by a wide audience.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688300678
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/1973
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Kitten Sale

The tabby kitten hooked his white paws over the edge of the box marked, Kittens 25¢ or Best Offer. The girl with the stringy hair and sunburnedarms picked him up and set him down in the midst of his wiggling, crawling, mewing brothers and sisters. He wanted to get out; she wanted him to stay in. The puzzling struggle had gone on all morning in the space between the mailbox and the newspaper rack near the door of the supermarket.

"Nice fresh kittens for sale," called out the girl, whose name was Debbie. She usually held the kitten in her arms, and he expected her to hold him now.

"Stupid," said her brother George, embarrassed to be selling kittens with his younger sister on a summer morning. "Whoever heard of fresh kittens?"

"Me," said Debbie, as she pushed the kitten down once more. Then she repeated at the top of her voice, "Nice fresh kittens for sale." She knew she was not stupid, and she enjoyed annoying her brother. The two had quarreled at breakfast. George said Debbie should sell the kittens, because she played with them and that made them hers. Debbie said George should sell the kittens, because she didn't know how to make change. Besides, he was the one who had brought the mother home when she was a kitten, so that made her kittens his. Their father said, "Stop bickering, you two. You can both sell them," and that was that.

The white-pawed kitten, unaware of the hard feelings between brother and sister, tried again. He stepped on another kitten and this time managed to lift his chin over the rim of the carton. His surprised blue eyes took in a pakinglot full of shoppers pushing grocery carts among cars glittering in the summer heat. He was fascinated and frightened.

"Now Socks," said Debbie, as she unhooked his claws from the cardboard, "be a good kitten."

Socks's orange-and-white sister caught his tail and bit it. Socks rolled over on his back and swiped at her with one white paw. He no longer felt playful toward a littermate who bit his tail. Now that be was seven weeks old, he wanted to escape from all the rolling, pouncing, and nipping that went on inside the box.

Unfortunately, no shopper was willing to buy Socks his freedom. Several paused to smile at the sign, and then Socks found himself shoved to the bottom of the heap by Debbie.

"What are you going to do with all the money when you sell the kittens?" asked an elderly woman who was lonely for her grandchildren.

"Daddy says we should save up to have the mother cat shoveled, so she won't have kittens all the time," answered Debbie.

"Spayed," corrected George. "She means he said we should have the mother spayed."

"Oh, my," said the woman and hurried into the market.

"Stupid," said George. "Anyway, Dad was joking, I think."

This time Debbie looked as if she agreed with her brother that she might be stupid. "What are we going to do?" she asked, as she plucked Socks from the edge of the carton once more. "Nobody wants them."

"Mark them down, I guess. Dad said to give them away if we had to. The boy borrowed a felt-tipped pen from a checker in the market and, while Socks peered over the edge of the carton, crossed out the 25¢ on his sign and wrote 20¢ above it.

"Kittens for sale." Debbie's voice sounded encouraging as she hid Socks under two of his littermates. He promptly wiggled out. On a day like this his own fur was warm enough.

"Why do you keep hiding Socks?" George tried to look as if he just happened to be standing there by the mailbox and had nothing to do with the kittens.

"Because he's the best kitten, and I want to keep him," said Debbie.

"Dad won't let you," her brother reminded her. "He says the house is getting to smell like cats."

Socks found himself plucked from the litter and cradled in the girl's arms. "Well, at least we can find a good home for him." Debbie was admitting the truth of her brother's statement. I don't want just anybody to take Socks."

"You don't see a line of people forming to buy kittens, do you?" asked George. To pass the time he had read the headlines of the newspapers in the rack and the label on the mailbox and was starting in on the signs posted in the windows of the market.

Socks tried to climb Debbie's T-shirt, but she held him back while she watched the faces of shoppers for signs of interest. Once a man approached, but he only wanted to drop a letter in the mailbox. A woman paused long enough to look at each kitten and then say, "No, I can't bear to think of anything as warm and furry as a kitten on such a hot day."

Children entering the market with their parents begged to be allowed to buy a kitten, just one, please, please, with their very own money, but no one actually bought a kitten. I guess it just isn't kitten weather," said Debbie.

Socks struggled to free himself from the heat of the girl's sweaty arms. "Be good, Socks," said Debbie. "We're trying to find you a nice home."

"Fat chance." George had finished reading the signs in the window and was even more bored. Special prices on ground beef and soap and announcements of cake sales did not interest him.

A woman with her hair on rollers, wearing a muumuu and rubber-thong sandals, herded three children and a tired-looking mongrel across the parking lot. The tallest, a girl barely old enough to read, shriekedMommy, look! A kitten sale!"

I

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