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

Eileen Beha, illus. by Sarah Jane Wright. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4424-9840-2

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.)