4 out of 4 stars
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“Something Stinks about this book” are the opening words of this children’s book Sigfried’s Smelly Socks by Len Forey. Sigfried narrates it in the first person. As the book climaxes, Sigfried consoles himself. He is of the opinion that so many things inside the book are more troublesome in comparison to his smelly socks. I cannot agree more. The book is a daring one.
Inspired by Becky and Sofia, who were careless in handling their socks, Len Forey composed this very short story. Before introducing the smelly socks, the narrator takes the reader through an unusual journey of the book to the things that just make it stink. He is unapologetic as he names all those responsible for the despicable mess. Oscar, the naughty dog tops the list. Others include: his brother Sherman, his sister Piper and his uncle Kato. All these characters misuse the pages of the book in different ways as Sigfried reveals to the reader. Oscar pees on one page leaving behind a yellow stain. Piper wipes her behind with another page. Sherman uses one page to wipe his nose. As if all this is not enough, his uncle Kato leaves behind a rotten potato that in turn makes Sigfried’s gray sock to smell. The last part of this book focuses on the smelly socks that Sigfried piles beneath his bed. Sigfried is lucky to own so many pairs of socks, which are of different colors. There are orange socks, blue socks, green socks, red socks, purple socks and gray socks. They are all nice to look and hold but they have only one shortcoming – they smell badly.
The layout of this book is superb. In particular, I like the way in which Len Forey uses colorful graphics to illustrate different parts of the story. Len Forey uses more illustrations and fewer words to make Sigfried’s story more captivating. This is a good quality of a children’s book. It makes reading feel like fun and memorable. Through the innocence and honesty portrayed in the book, Len Forey succeeds in teaching children basic manners and personal hygiene. Sigfried’s resolution at the end of the story to take the right action of washing the socks is commendable.
The only aspect of the book that I disliked was some choice of words. I did not find it OK to call this a ‘silly book’ owing to the fact that it is a children’s book. I also sensed gender biasness. Sigfried refers to his sister’s diaper as ‘disgusting’. I believe that the author could have done better in choosing other lesser harsh words.
I am rating this book 4 out of 4 stars despite the mentioned shortcomings. I am recommending this book to children below the age of eight years despite having some vocabularies that are beyond their age. The story serves them well.
Sigfried’s Smelly Socks!
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