Alas, the books in the Sock Monkey series – Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood, Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie, and Sock Monkey Rides Again – are hard to find. All published by Candlewick Press, they are currently “out of stock indefinitely.” Maybe together, we can get them reprinted some day. If you’re interested in that prospect, contact Candlewick Press and let them know how you feel by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember what Horton says in Dr Seuss’s masterpiece, Horton Hears a Who: “Every voice counts!” And maybe, just maybe, if the books ever get reprinted, I will finally get to publish a holiday Sock Monkey book, which is currently sitting in my Enormous Cabinet of Rejected Books.
There’s also Sock Monkey in the Spotlight, which is available from Barnes and Noble:
It combines the first two books (Hollywood and Boogie Woogie) into one lovely book.
All three books were inspired by my actual Sock Monkey, which I made way back in 1995 from a kit that my grandmother gave me. I fell in love with that monkey instantly, and the stories followed after.
The other characters in the books are real, too. Really! Truly! Here’s Miss Bunn, made by that same grandmother, back in 1975.
And Blue Pig, who belongs to my older sister, and was purchased by her at a People’s Drug Store in Richmond, Virginia, in 1972.
Note that Blue Pig did not wear a skirt back in the old days. My mother, bless her, tried to fix Blue Pig’s bottom (which had fallen out – imagine that happening to your own bottom!). She (my mother, not the bottom) was not happy with her sewing, so she covered it up with a skirt made of felt. Voila! A fashion icon was born.
Froggie was made by my mother-in-law in 1970, for the amazing baby who grew up to be Tom Angleberger, the amazing author of the Origami Yoda series.
And here’s Sock Buddy, who mysteriously appeared during a trip to New York City.
The illustrations for these books were done using Freehand on a Mac. Remember Freehand? I drew everything first in pencil, scanned in those drawings, and then used those drawings as guides for the Freehand stuff. I also scanned in fabrics and socks so that I could create the textures for each character.
Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, and was named “Quirkiest Picture Book” by Publishers Weekly in 2003.
Kirkus was a little less than enthusiastic, but I did enjoy their beautifully worded review of Sock Monkey Rides Again:
“Happy trails… to all readers with the stomach for such relentless, intense cuteness.”
And if you want to know more about sock monkeys, and Sock Monkey, check out Sock Monkey 101.