All week Kevin has suffered a string of bad luck, but suddenly on Friday everything goes extremely well for him. Kevin thinks it must be his lucky yellow socks. But on the morning of his Field Day at school, his socks are missing! He and his mom search everywhere. At last his mother offers him a pair of old yellow underpants, but can anything replace his lucky socks?
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This promising tale from a British team starts out strong, then fizzles. Kevin believes that his yellow socks bring luck. When he wears socks of any other color, disaster strikes: he blames his green socks, for example, for his dismal performance on a spelling test, as well as his bike's flat tire. Yellow socks, on the other hand, win him a starring role (literally) in the school play and an invitation to eat ice cream in his friend's tent. Then the lucky socks go missing. Up to this point, the narrative shows a wry understanding of how kids often view themselves as cogs in the universe, and why the idea of luck can be so powerful for them. Middleton (Tabitha's Terrifically Tough Tooth) emphasizes this deterministic perspective by placing cut-out drawings of her characters and their belongings against backgrounds of contrasting colors; she thus renders a visually distilled world in which no one seems on very sure footing. The book's resolution, however--his mother comes up with a substitute talisman, a pair of "old yellow underpants"--hits a false note. Wearing the underpants, Kevin stumbles and bumbles his way through a field day, but is given a medal "for trying very hard at everything--and never giving up!... Now Kevin doesn't mind what color socks he wears." The ending sounds like an adult's self-esteem pep talk, and breaks with the rest of the book's child-centered tone. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From School Library Journal:
reSchool-Grade 2--When Kevin wears red socks, he spills his milk, pops the button off his shorts, and is late for school. When he wears green ones, all of his spelling words are wrong and his bicycle gets a flat. Striped socks are no different. But whenever the child wears his yellow socks, everything goes right. Then field day comes and he can't find his lucky socks, although Mom finds another yellow garment. Kevin falls in the sack race, gets mixed up in the "dress-up race," and can't balance his beanbag in another competition. Then, surprise, "Kevin got a special medal.-for trying very hard at everything-and never giving up!" Suddenly, he is "very fond of his yellow underpants." Beautiful full-page illustrations, mainly in vibrant primary colors, capture all of the boy's activities at home and in school in seemingly life-sized detail, giving kids lots to marvel at during a read-aloud, one-on-one sharing, or independent reading. Weston and Middleton have effectively captured the thoughts and actions of this age group.
Wanda Meyers-Hines, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Huntsville, AL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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