Poppa Bob is missing one of his favorite socks. It’s a fine red sock, and Grandma Kay joins in the search, but it is nowhere to be found.
This is the start of Odd Sock’s Adventures, a children’s book by New Zealand author Alma Aspin that tells the story of a lost sock and his travels. Odd Sock’s adventures take him all over the North Island of Aotearoa (the Maori word for “New Zealand”). He travels to the beach with a policeman, gets taken to a fire in the city by a fireman and is transported elsewhere by dog, bird, camper and backpacker, until by great good fortune he ends up back home.
While the concept has promise, the book is burdened in many ways. Odd Sock’s ability to move is strangely inconsistent; sometimes he moves himself, other times he must rely on a person or animal to help him out. Although it’s a picture book, it is too long for toddlers or preschoolers (but will be suitable for readers in grades three through five). Furthermore, the layout is crowded and confusing, with text often obscured by the drawings.
In addition, it would have benefited readers to know the story’s location from the beginning, since the only clues are strange names and a map on the back of the book. Some words and place names will be unfamiliar to U.S. readers, and a glossary for these terms would have been helpful. As such, this story is most likely to appeal to children from “Down Under,” since they will be pleased to recognize the places near their home.
Although this seems a well-intentioned attempt to amuse and entertain, UK author Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man, about a stick on a journey similar to Odd Sock’s, is more skillfully written and would make a better choice for parents looking for a story such as this.