The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea: The Story of Annaliese Easterling & Throckmorton, Her Simply Remarkable Sock Monkey

Overview

A charming sock monkey reunites a fractured family in this simply remarkable novel in the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit and The Penderwicks.

Meet Throckmorton S. Monkey. He’s everything a sock monkey is supposed to be: Loving. Loyal. A very good listener. And he’s never, ever—not even once!—stopped smiling. Yet Throckmorton has been long forgotten by his keeper Annaliese Easterling, and he seems doomed to live out his days lost and lonely ...

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The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea: The Story of Annaliese Easterling & Throckmorton, Her Simply Remarkable Sock Monkey

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Overview

A charming sock monkey reunites a fractured family in this simply remarkable novel in the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit and The Penderwicks.

Meet Throckmorton S. Monkey. He’s everything a sock monkey is supposed to be: Loving. Loyal. A very good listener. And he’s never, ever—not even once!—stopped smiling. Yet Throckmorton has been long forgotten by his keeper Annaliese Easterling, and he seems doomed to live out his days lost and lonely among other abandoned stuffed animals.

But then one day Great Grand Mama Easterling sends engraved invitations to forty-nine sock monkeys to attend her ninetieth birthday along with their human keepers. Throckmorton is thrilled! The arrival of his invitation brings him back together with Annaliese. And he vows to do something so remarkable, so amazing, she will never want to be separated from him again.

Indeed, over just a few days, Throckmorton will survive being buried in a blizzard. He’ll be spared from a vicious attacker. But best of all, he’ll find a way to reunite Annaliese with the one person she most longs to know. Not bad for a stuffed toy—if you’re to believe that’s all Throckmorton S. Monkey really is…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/29/2014
Beha's (Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog) humorous story with a gothic setting stars a family of stuffed sock monkeys who may not speak to their human "keepers," but have many thoughts and emotions nevertheless. Nine-year-old Annaliese Easterling has temporarily forgotten about her childhood sock monkey, Throckmorton S. Monkey, until her rich, quirky, and elusive Great-Grandmama Easterling invites all the sock monkeys (which she crafted as gifts when each family member was born) and their keepers to her 90th birthday party. Since the aging matriarch's will states "no monkey, no money," relatives begin a mad search for all the sock monkeys they've abandoned. Annaliese, whose mother disappeared years earlier, cherishes Throckmorton's company once again as she sleuths for secrets about her family history in anticipation of the Valentine's Day party. Throckmorton's sweet contemplations about friendship and loyalty—mixed with some honest reflections about abandonment—will have many readers dusting off their own favorite stuffed pals. Ages 8–12. Author's agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Aug.)
August 2014 Booklist
Centered around a rich, eccentric elder and the stuffed animals she created for her descendants, Beha’s well-paced debut often seems like a throwback to children’s books written decades ago. Set in a remote seaside home in Maine where the children are tutored, the story is made even more quaint by its narration, particularly attuned to the tender feelings of a hand-sewn sock monkey...[Beha's] her main characters, particularly Throckmorton, are sweet and sympathetic.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
...Throckmorton is an engaging narrator, and budding mystery lovers may enjoy piecing together the story of Olivia’s return and also figuring out the identity of the thief...youthful fans of cozy manor house mysteries and those who believe their stuffed animals can come to life when unattended may be an appreciative audience. Understated and fluid monochromatic illustrations add atmosphere.
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Banished to an overcrowded pet net by a lazy maid, hand-sewn sock monkey Throckmorton S. Monkey is heartbroken over this separation from his beloved young mistress, Annaliese. Everything changes for both sock monkey and girl, though, when a special delivery letter arrives at the isolated old manor house in Bay Fortune, Maine. Throckmorton—yes, Throckmorton—and dozens of other sock monkeys have been invited to attend a fancy ball in honor of the 90th birthday of the woman who created them, Annaliese’s eccentric great-grandmother. Rumors fly that sock-monkey “keepers” who are unable to produce the monkeys given to them at their christening may be cut out of her will. A scramble to find abandoned sock monkeys leads to the discovery of a secret attic room where Annaliese stumbles upon a locket that might help her uncover the truth about the mother, who fled from Eastcliff-by-the-Sea shortly after her birth. The plot takes many an unconvincing, melodramatic turn, all in keeping with the deliberately old-fashioned setting and voice of Beha’s good-natured celebration of this old-fashioned toy. After reading Throckmorton’s tale, young readers may well want to fashion a sock monkey of their own: “Loving. And loyal. And a very good listener.” Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.; Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
09/01/2014
Gr 4–7—Throckmorten S. Monkey worried that he would spend his remaining days in a fishy-smelling net hung over his keeper's four-poster bed with a slew of other abandoned stuffed animals. But the sock monkey's prospects improve when he receives an invitation to Mrs. Ethel Constance Easterly's 90th birthday party. The invitation has been extended to all of the sock monkeys the Easterly matriarch has crafted for her descendants, and the appearance of said monkeys is instrumental in getting a piece of Ethel's inheritance. The impending party stirs up more than abandoned stuffed playthings—it starts Throckmorten and his keeper, Annaliese, on a path of discovery, a path that will eventually lead to the mystery surrounding Annaliese's mother's departure. Beha's concept is interesting and the sentient monkey's observations of life around Eastcliff manor are charming. The story line meanders and has an old-fashioned sensibility, though some readers may wish for a stronger payoff at the end after the complex setup.—Beth Cuddy, Seward Elementary School, Auburn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-06-25
This original, heartwarming and highly amusing tale about lovely, lonely Annaliese is related by Annaliese's sock monkey, Throckmorton S. Monkey. (The "S." stands for "Sock.")All of her nine years, Annaliese has lived with her father, her twin brothers, a kind cook and a nasty, fish-smelling maid in a crumbling mansion by the sea. She does not remember her long-gone mother, and her father has forbidden the topic. As the story opens, Annaliese is excited about party invitations that have arrived for her family's sock monkeys and their keepers. As Annaliese's father explains to the latest governess: "Whenever a baby is born into the family, Great-Grandmama Easterling makes a sock monkey." The old woman herself is hosting the lavish party-cum-family reunion for her 90th birthday on Valentine's Day, and before the day arrives, Annaliese and Throckmorton suddenly learn more and more secrets about Annaliese's mother. As the story proceeds unerringly to the tidying of every loose end, readers will enjoy such spectacles as the Grand March of sock monkeys and keepers and the mayhem that follows. Throckmorton's careful observations of human nature, coupled with his inability to move freely, add a pleasing, fresh dimension.This unusual novel is old-fashioned in the best sense of the word, conveying universal truths and values through the use of sentient toys. (Fantasy. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442498402
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 471,373
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Eileen Beha is the author of The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea and the celebrated middle grade novel Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog. A former middle school principal, Eileen received an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their two dogs, Tango and Daisy. Visit her at EileenBeha.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea

Trapped


Once, in a fine house on a high cliff above a frozen sea, Throckmorton S. Monkey heard the frenzied barks of the family dogs announcing the approach of a stranger.

Throckmorton, a hand-sewn sock monkey, was suspended at the time in a fishy-smelling net strung high above Annaliese Easterling’s frosting pink four-poster bed.

Dozens of stuffed animals were stored in the crowded net.

Pressed against Throckmorton’s embroidered nose was the fuzzy tail of a stuffed rabbit. A penguin’s beak poked his black button eye. An elephant’s ear, spotted with jam, stuck to his bright red rump.

Throckmorton was miserable.

Many months earlier, a lazy maid named Madge—a fisherman’s daughter—had tossed him into the odoriferous net, and Annaliese hadn’t ever bothered to fish him out.

The maid said that she was sick and tired of dusting dolls that Annaliese never played with and pressing dresses she rarely wore. Mostly, Madge was sick and tired of scooping up stuffed toys off of the nine-year-old girl’s messy bedroom floor.

Rats, rats, double-rats!

Whatever had Throckmorton done to deserve such a cruel fate?

Why, he’d done everything that a red-heeled sock monkey was supposed to do. He’d been all that a red-heeled sock monkey was expected to be:

Loving.

Loyal.

A very good listener.

And he’d never—not even once!—stopped smiling.

Nonetheless, here he was . . . netted like a common crab.

Life, he lamented anew, was so unfair.

Suddenly the doorbell rang.

Who could it be? he wondered.

Eastcliff-by-the-Sea was far, far away from it all. The manor house was old and not nearly as fine as it used to be. Visitors of any kind were rare.

Now Donald and Bailey had stopped barking, and from somewhere in the house, Annaliese was shouting, “Evan! Teddy! Come here! Come quick!”

Neither brother answered her call.

Trippety-trip, trippety-trip . . . the heels of her shoes clicked as she scurried up the servants’ staircase to the second floor.

Thrickety-thrump, thrickety-thrump . . . the soles of her shoes drummed as she scuttled through the manor’s shadowy halls.

“Miss Pine! Miss Pine! Come here! Come quick!”

Throckmorton was dying to know what the excitement was all about. If only he had bones and muscles, he thought wistfully, he’d dive into the frothy sea of pillows on Annaliese’s bed below and dash after her.

If only he weren’t so miserable . . .

Forgotten, abandoned, and unable to break free.

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