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Sock Monkey as the Nutcracker: bits and pieces from the Vault of the Unpublished Stuff

24 Dec

So…I’ve been waiting to hear from the lovely folks at Candlewick Press about what might happen to the Sock Monkey books that we did together, starting an entire decade ago. The books are no longer in print, so if you’re not familiar with them, that’s ok. The books are called SOCK MONKEY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, SOCK MONKEY BOOGIE WOOGIE, and SOCK MONKEY RIDES AGAIN, and there are two possibilities: I’ll either get the rights back to them, or Candlewick will decide to republish them. I wait with baited breath about the decision Candlewick will make!

Meanwhile, several years ago I tried out a Sock Monkey Christmas book, which Candlewick felt wasn’t quite up to snuff, and while I might not have thought so then, upon re-reading it, I’d have to agree. But there are some parts I like, and so I’ll share a little bit here with you, without giving the whole thing away. Because you never know. Maybe I’ll rework it and get it right!

Here are a few pages:


Sock Monkey finds his friends doing various holiday things, and asks them for some help and advice with his dancing. Here’s how Froggie (who apparently is Jewish and therefore celebrating Hannukah) helps him out:


Sock Monkey gets help from Miss Bunn and Blue Pig, too. But look what happens when he asks Sock Buddy for some help with his costume:



Of course, after this, Sock Monkey is furious, and treats Sock Buddy like¬†garbage. Which is not the way one should treat one’s friends, should one?


What happens next? Well, hopefully someday you will find out!

Sock Monkey and I wish you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends!

A history lesson: 12 Sock Monkey holiday cards on 12/12/12!

12 Dec

For your viewing pleasure, I have compiled twelve Sock Monkey holiday cards that I’ve created over the years. This year’s card just went out today…and I’ll post it here on December 25th! We’ll go from most recent all the way to 2001. Remember 2001? That seems like ages ago.

2010: A homage to Peter Max. This card was originally gonna say “Merry Christmax” in that classic Peter Max signature font. BUT I woke up at 2 a.m. AFTER the cards had been printed out, realizing that maybe Peter Max is Jewish. Guess what? He is! Christmax? OMG. Luckily, Tom figured out that we could just cut that portion off the bottom, and that is what I did. So today, you’ll see what got cut off on the back after these cards got trimmed. Anyway, here it is, front and back both:

Psychadelic, dude!

Psychadelic, dude!


It was the copy next to the picture of Max and Monkey that got chopped.

Here’s 2010’s card, a little nod to Andy Williams and his song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I really, really love those Andy Williams Christmas specials, and was very sad when Andy died this year. Anyway, the inside of this card said, sure enough, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” And if you’re like my mama, who is sick and tired of yard work in the summer, it is indeed a good time.

20102009’s card imagines what might have happened if Sock Monkey (famous actor) showed up to audition for the greatest Christmas special of all — the Peanuts one. Check it out! Here’s the front when the card is folded up:


…and here’s the inside:

20092008 saw a Hawaiian theme, and came with a paper ornament of a very Hawaiian Sock Monkey! These were printed on bright, neon-colored card stock.


Here’s the inside, with space to write a note:


And here’s that ornament. Extra credit for those of you who might still have one of these on your tree!



2007’s card was a near disaster. Each card came with a squished penny featuring Sock Monkey. I had found a site on-line that could make customized squished pennies. The pennies were awesome, except they almost didn’t come in time. My sweet mama and I stayed up late putting the cards together, and then she raced me to a post office that was open late for the holidays, and most people got them in time. I vowed that night to never rely on another person for part of the card ever again!


Here’s the front…


…and here’s the inside of the card. There’s a gray line on S.M.’s paw, and I used an x-acto knife to cut that line on each card, so that I could insert the flat penny there.


This was the design for the penny. I don’t have any actual pennies — I gave them all away!

2006’s card had a German theme. And even better, these cards came with Sock Monkey gift tags that you could cut out and put on your gifts. I just found a few of these the other day, and I can’t wait to use ’em!


I wrote the recipient’s name on the gift tag that S.M. is holding.

Here's the back of the card.

Here’s the back of the card.

Sock Monkey gift tags!

Sock Monkey gift tags!

2005’s card is a personal favorite. My parents have a bunch of those old Firestone-sponsored Christmas albums, and my siblings and I listened to a lot of them when we were kids. (Best one of the lot wasn’t Firestone-sponsored, but man, was it good — the Bert Kaempfert one.¬†Just so danged right-on.) Anyway, this one was square, like an album cover, and inside there was a little record (we wrote notes on the other side of this). Cutting circles takes forever. Note to self: do not do that again!

Sock Monkey looks so handsome here!

Sock Monkey looks so handsome here!

Here’s the back of the “album”:

You might be able to read all the wacky albums on the bottom of this...

You might be able to read all the wacky albums on the bottom of this…

And here’s the “record” that was inside the album. I think I taped or glued together the front and back of the card and then slipped the record between them.


2004’s card was all about Shrinky-Dinks! I found actual Shrinky-Dink paper on-line and absolutely went to town.I was able to send this paper through the xerox machine, and so each person got one of four Sock Monkey designs to color and bake.

Here's the cover.

Here’s the cover.


Here’s the inside…

Here's the back...

Here’s the back…

and here are the Shrinky-Dink designs!

and here are the Shrinky-Dink designs!

2003’s card is another personal favorite. We found a 70’s era Sears catalog in an antique store and bought it. (Tom and I are kids of the seventies, so we couldn’t resist. It was like a time capsule to our childhoods.) I soon realized that it had a lot of potential for a Christmas card — remember the Sears wish books? Hilarity ensued.


Lookin’ good, S.M.! And who knew that S.M.’s dad was such an absolute hunk?

The long underwear section still makes me laugh after all these years.

The long underwear section still makes me laugh after all these years.

S.M. even looks great in women's wear!

S.M. even looks great in women’s wear!

2002’s card is inspired by old sheet music. Who knew that Johnny Marks teamed up with Sock Monkey to create another holiday opus, S.M., the Red-Reared Monkey? These were printed on off-white (ivory?) card stock to make them look even more like the old weathered sheet music that has been sitting in your piano bench for decades.

One of the few times folks get to see what the real Sock Monkey looks like...

One of the few times folks get to see what the real Sock Monkey looks like…

The words to this (superior) song are:

You know King Kong and J. Fred and Grape Ape and Cheetah / Bubbles and Koko and Magilla Gorilla / But do you recall / the most famous monkey of all? / S.M., the red-reared monkey / had a very crimson rear / and if you ever saw it / you would even say “That’s weird!” / All of the other monkeys / used to laugh and make him blush / they never let poor S.M. / feel O.K. about his tush! / Then one foggy Christmas eve / Santa came to say / “S.M. with your rear so rouge / won’t you guide my sleigh so huge?” / Then how the monkeys loved him / and they shouted from the trees / “S.M., the red-reared monkey / you’ll go down in history!”

Sheer poetry!

Sheer poetry!

2002’s card was a hand-made hodgepodge. First, I stenciled on the light blue trees with acrylic paint. Then I ran the paper through the xerox machine to get the words (from that other great Christmas song, I’m Dreaming of a White Christtmas) and Sock Monkey’s outlines on there. Next, I made a little stamp for S.M.’s mouth, and 2 more little stamps for the boots, and stamped those on each card. Next, I painted a swath of white snow on the ground. Then I used a toothbrush to splatter some snow on top of the whole thing. And finally, I trimmed ’em. Time-consuming but purty.


And finally, 2001’s card: simple but heartfelt. This one was made with a linoleum print. It’s another of my favorites. You can’t go wrong with Dickens!


I hope you enjoyed all these cards! One thing I’ve realized is that the more elaborate cards were made during the years that I was not so busy either with work or parenting. So this year’s card is not so elaborate, but that means I had plenty to do, which is usually a great thing! Check back on the 25th to see it! Happy holidays!

Happy times for Sock Monkey

18 Jul

It’s been a good couple of days for Sock Monkey.

First, he saw his name all lit up, show-biz style, at the Salem Fair:

Then, he received these gorgeous flat pennies from an admirer, the amazing Dark Hollow beauty, Mrs. B-C. She got these welcome additions to S.M.’s collection from Disneyworld(!).

Left to right, it’s Spongebob! Pongo and Purdy! And the one and only, Mickey Mouse!

Oh, S.M., you lucky duck, you.

Sock Monkey for President!

14 Mar

Just in time for election season, I bring you these presidential buttons!

S.M. is totally non-partisan! Also, non-parmesan!

Sock Monkey Christmas coloring pages!

22 Dec

Download, print, color, cut, hand, treasure, pass down through the generations…


Want the JUMBO version for hi-quality printing?

Sock Monkey is copyright 1996-2008 by Cece Bell

The Sock Monkey books are available on or from your local bookseller. See the links at left…

Happy Holidays from Sock Monkey and Cece Bell

17 Dec

And for an extra cup of Sock Monkey Christmas Cheer, don’t forget his famous coffee commercial from last year…

Scary Sock Monkey Pumpkin

27 Oct

Sock Monkey’s had a brain transplant from Dr. Frankenstein!


Happy Halloween from Sock Monkey

13 Oct


Sock Monkey Christmas Card 2008

24 Dec


Mele Kalikimaka from Kakini Makinika*!

*That’s Merry Christmas from Sock Monkey in Hawaiian!

Sock Monkey’s Christmas Train Outdoor Light Display

23 Dec

Here’s Sock Monkey’s Christmas Train in better days:


Tom and I will never forget the great afternoon we had making this thing. It was a warm November afternoon and Hokie football traffic buzzed by all day. We had big dreams of making a whole train. But so far we’ve still got just this locomotive, which has gotten a little saggy and mistreated and the lights don’t work so great. I think the wheels may have “turned” at one point.