Plant That Ate Dirty Socks

Plant That Ate Dirty Socks

4.3 3
by Nancy Mcarthur

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Yummie, Yummie...Dirty Socks!

Michael's room was always a disaster area, strewn with all kinds of litter — heaps of papers, piles of crumpled clothes, and dirty socks everywhere. And that was just the top layer! The trouble was, half the room belonged to Michael's brother Norman the neatness nut. It was the battle of the bedroom — with Norman fighting


Yummie, Yummie...Dirty Socks!

Michael's room was always a disaster area, strewn with all kinds of litter — heaps of papers, piles of crumpled clothes, and dirty socks everywhere. And that was just the top layer! The trouble was, half the room belonged to Michael's brother Norman the neatness nut. It was the battle of the bedroom — with Norman fighting to keep his spotless territory free from the invasion of Michael's mess.

But that was before the appearance of the most amazing plants ever! Suddenly Michael's junk heap disappeared and the room was taken over by the two giant plants that gobbled up socks faster than anyone could supply them! And their appetites were growing bigger every day!

When the plant that militant slob Michael grows from his mail-order seeds develops an appetite for dirty socks, Michael and his neatnik brother, Norman, join together to persuade their parents to let them keep the ever-growing-and voracious-greenery.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Rhenda Fearrington
Brothers Norman and Michael are the original "odd couple-" Michael is a veritable slob, and Norman is compulsively neat. Sharing a room makes each brother, the other one's worst nightmare. That alone was a perfect premise for a funny story, but add a couple of sock-eating plants and you've got a story that's been delighting kids for the last ten years. On day, amidst the rubble from Norman's side of the room, he finds an offer to send away for "Amazing Beans." As they say, "the rest is history!" The boys and their parents discover that they have plant-eating socks, which they affectionately name Stanley and Fluffy. Their appetites are insatiable, and they just keep growing. Part of the jocularity comes from concealing this "family secret" from the rest of the community. Of course life with these plants is just the beginning of this fun adventure. In fact it inspired an entire series of books to be written because young readers everywhere just couldn't get enough! A classic, that should always finds its way to a fourth grade Summer Reading List.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-6--Nancy McArthur's book (Avon, pap. 1988) has been a consistent seller at school book fairs and a sure fire attention holder as a read aloud. This unabridged version is read expressively by Richard Adamson, who has developed distinctive voices for each of the characters. The story is a contrast between brothers, Michael and Norman, who share a room despite the fact that one is Mr. Neat and the other Mr. Messy. One day some odd seeds arrive in the mail. Michael decides to conduct a scientific experiment, so he begins feeding them a food such as broccoli and pizza. The plants grow enormous vines and leaves that threaten to overtake the boys' room. Their mother demands to know where Michael's dirty socks are going. Listeners learn, before the two boys do, that Michael's plant is eating his dirty socks. The boys realize that they must protect the plants' secret from the rest of the family and their friends. The gentle humor and silly adventures leading up to the school's big science fair will amuse and hold the attention of almost all intermediate grade students, and serve as a neat lead in to reading the book. This tape belongs in all audio collections for intermediate grades.--Linda R. Skeele, Western Elementary School, Georgetown, KY

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Plant That Ate Dirty Socks Series
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.32(d)
640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Norman was always up before anyone else, so he was raring to go. But Michael was a slow starter in the morning. He slid out of bed and tripped over a dirty sock left on the rug. Stanley had eaten only three of the four that Michael had put out last night for his dinner. Michael had discovered by experimenting that when the plants got more sunlight, they ate fewer socks in the middle of the night. He had taken Stanley out in the back yard for a while yesterday.

He asked Norman, "How many clean socks did Fluffy eat last night?"

"Four," said Norman. "Why didn't Stanley eat all of his? You're not going to leave that smelly sock there all day, are you? It'll stink up the whole room!"

Michael sealed the leftover sock in a plastic bag to keep it yummy for Stanley to eat later. He would rather put out too many socks than not enough. If the plants didn't get enough to eat, there was no telling what they would do. They were fastened to skateboards so they could be moved easily, but they had learned to pull themselves around with their vines. Once they had gone after orange juice in the refrigerator and made a giant mess.

As Michael brushed his teeth, he wished he could go back to bed. He had been up late reading with a flash light under the covers because he couldn't wait to find out what happened next in The Ghost of Creep Castle. He yawned and went down the hall to the kitchen.

At the table he rested his head on one hand and shoveled cereal into his mouth with the other.

Mom said, "Your chin's almost in your cereal bowl. Do you feel all right?"

"I'm just sleepy," he mumbled with his mouth full. When he finished eating, he folded his arms on thetable and put his head down.

"Wake me up when it's time to go to school," he said. Dad said, "It's important to get enough sleep. If you're this tired, obviously you didn't. Maybe you'd better-start going to bed half an hour earlier."

"No!" protested Michael, sitting up straight.

Mom looked at him suspiciously. "Were you reading with your flashlight under the covers again?"

"Uh, sort of. Just a little while."

"Tonight when you go to bed," said Mom, "I want you to hand over your flashlight."

"No. "

"Yes," she said. "No arguing. What are you doing in school today?"

"Owl pellets," said Michael. "For science we're picking them apart to find bones of little animals the owls ate."

Norman stopped drinking his orange juice. "Oooh, yuck! " he exclaimed.

Mom made a face and asked, "Are those pellets what I think they are?"

Michael explained, "No. Mrs. Black said the owls cough them up."

"Owl vomit," said Norman. "Double yuck."

"Not exactly," said Michael. "It's the parts they don't digest, with fur and feathers. Like hair balls that cats hawk up."

Dad said, "Do you have to tell us about this while we're eating?"

Michael shrugged and grinned. "Mom asked."

"Aren't the pellets germy?" asked Mom. "Are you going to wear gloves?"

"No," said Michael. "Mrs. Black said the company that sells them to schools fixes them to be non-germy for picking through with bare fingers."

"Triple yuck," said Norman.

Mom said, "Wash your hands afterward anyway. Re member, after school we're taking Stanley and Fluffy to a plant place to get bigger pots and new soil. Don't dawdle on the way home."

Dad asked her, "Are you sure you don't want to wait till Saturday when I can go along to help?"

"The plants are easy to roll on their skateboards," she replied. "The boys and I can handle it. The place is only about a mile from here. It'll be a nice walk."

She added, "On Saturday, we could take a day-trip somewhere. I wonder if the new rain forest exhibit at the Elmville Zoo is open yet."

"I don't think so," said Dad. "There would have been something about it in the newspaper and on TV. But it seems like it should be open soon." He picked up the newspaper. "Hmmm. Some vandalism was discovered at the park yesterday. Spray paint. Broken benches. What kind of idiots do things like that?"

"Mean ones," said Norman.

"Isn't there any good news?" asked Mom.

Dad turned the page. "Here's some plant news. All the local plant clubs are getting together to hold an auction sale. They're raising money to create gardens for children in the park."

'Good idea," said Mom. "What are they selling?"

"Rare plants donated by club members and professional growers," Dad read. "And our good neighbor, Barbara Smith, is one of the chairmen."

"Can we go?" asked Michael. "It'd be cool to see rare plants."

Dad replied, "We already have two rare ones that you see all the time."

Mom suggested, "We could donate them to the sale."

The boys shouted, "No!"

"Just kidding," she said. "We won't go back on our deal to keep them."

Norman carried his cereal bowl, juice glass, and spoon to the sink. He neatly rinsed and stacked them. He was all ready for school, clothes looking nice, hair combed. His backpack sat by the kitchen door with everything he needed already in it.

Michael shoved his dishes into the sink with the bowl atop the glass. They tipped over with a clatter.

As Norman went out the back door to get his bike, he was singing "Oh Susanna," hitting wrong notes as usual. He loved to sing. He was always cheerful and organized in the morning. Michael wondered if Norman did it on purpose to drive him crazy. It was hard to live with someone who kept acting so perfect.

Mom reminded Michael, "Tuck in the other side of your shirt. Tie your shoelaces. And comb your hair. Why do I have to keep telling you these things every morning?

Michael sighed and raked his fingers through his hair. While he tied his shoes, he tried to remember where he had put his homework. After a frantic search, it turned out to be in his backpack. He grabbed his jacket and opened the back door to go get his bike from the garage. Mom handed him his milk money and lunch, which he had left on the sink.

"Your shirt's still hanging out," called Mom. "Tuck it in. Have a good day!"

The ride to school in the cold fresh air made Michael feel wide awake. When he went around to the back of the building, where the bike racks were, he saw a police car. The custodian, Mr. Jones, was talking to two officers. Michael recognized one. He was known as Officer Tim to everyone at Edison Elementary. He often visited classrooms to talk to kids about how to stay out of trouble. Michael and Norman had gotten to know him well when they had been mixed up in a mystery. As Michael got closer, he saw why the police were there.

Meet the Author

Nancy McArthur lives in Berea, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She teaches journalism part-time at Baldwin-Wallace College. She has a lot of plants, but none of them has eaten anything — so far. The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks is the first book about Michael, Norman, Stanley, and Fluffy.

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The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
AIJester More than 1 year ago
My brother had this book a long time ago. When I was around the age of seven or eight, my mother found it. Enthralled by the title alone, I asked her to read it to me. I'm 18, and to this day, I will read this book and find myself laughing just as I did when I was in Second grade. The characters, while hysterical, also seem very real. Anyone who has grown up with a sibling understands such woes like sharing a room, or bugging the other sibling. Even the few 'master plans' that Michael and Normal pull off together seem like something two brothers would do. The mother and father, while they don't have names, are great characters as well. The mother, being the more cautious and serious type, and the father being... well, a father. The way McArthur wrote this book seems like how any family would react to having plant-eating socks. The plants themselves also have character, which gives even more entertainment to the reader. As the book progresses, so does the plants to the point where they become more amusing by the second. The humor in the book never gets old for me, and I always find myself smiling. The only problem I honestly have with this book is the fact it's short. Thankfully, McArthur fixed this problem, and made this simple book into a series. Each book following this allows the plants to progress through their life and develop habits, skills, and other things. If I talk anymore, I might give away this wonderful book. Even if you only read this once, I'd recommend you do. If it doesn't make you smile at least once, then nothing will.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks was about two boys. The boys had plants that liked to eat their socks. As the plants grew, they started to eat more socks. The two boys had their own plants. The amazing thing is that they named them. The mom asked the boys where all of their socks were, and they told her about the plants and how they ate their socks. So the mom kept buying socks, and the boys kept the plants.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember being in the third or fourth grade years back and I stumbled upon this book among other books on my weekly journeys to the library. It was new at the time and no one barely read it. But the title caught my attention. I remember laughing lightly about it and signed it out to read it. I finished it within a day (it was easy reading) but it was very funny. Now that I'm an adult, I'm not so sure the humor would still amuse me, but as a little kid, it was very entertaining and not to mention so unique. Do you know of any other book that has a plant that eats dirty socks? I think not.