cover image Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?

Eve Bunting, illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-75267-9

There’s something particularly upsetting about losing a brand-new possession, so it’s no wonder that Duck is feeling a little lost himself: “I’m trying not to be depressed./ Without my socks I feel undressed.” His friends—whose names also rhyme with “socks”—are sympathetic and offer tips (“I may have seen your new blue socks—/ I saw some socks down on the rocks,” says Mr. Ox). As in their 2011 collaboration, Tweak Tweak, Bunting and Ruzzier create a lightly surreal and emotionally benevolent landscape, this time introducing a hero who’s considerably more independent than the baby elephant from the earlier book. The book’s gentle takeaway—reinforced by Ruzzier’s signature offbeat aesthetic (Duck is colored soft green; Mr. Ox sits alone in a field, painting a landscape) and Bunting’s solid, conversational rhymes—is twofold. When you lose something, action is better than tantrum. And when someone you know loses something, respond with genuine helpfulness—and don’t make fun of them when it turns out that they were (ahem) wearing their beloved blue socks the entire time. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)