Sally and the Purple Socks by Lisze Bechtold was a big hit at my recent sock-themed school-age storytime. The audience, which was mostly kindergarteners, found the book’s humor very appealing. Also, several of them told me they were excited to hear the story because they love the color purple. After I read Sally and the Purple Socks, one of the kindergarten teachers in attendance jotted down the title so she can read the book to her class again soon. At the beginning of the story, Sally (a duck) opens a package containing a pair of tiny purple socks and a note indicating that the socks will “grow to the size ordered.” The socks soon expand to fit Sally’s feet, but instead of stopping there they just keep growing. Sally is very resourceful, so each time the socks get bigger she finds a new use for them. When they no longer fit her feet, she wears them as a hat and scarf. Later they serve as curtains, blankets, a carpet, and even a giant circus tent. Will Sally’s purple socks ever stop growing?
In her illustrations, Bechtold uses a limited color palette that makes the purple socks stand out on every page. Even when they are huge, the socks retain their shape, with rounded toes, turned heels, and ribbing on the cuffs. On some pages, the illustrations tell parts of the story that are left out of the text. For example, Sally turning the socks into curtains is only shown in the pictures and not described with words. Readers will want to be sure that all their audience members have a good view of the book, and may want to ask listeners to explain what’s happening on the pages where the plot occurs only in the pictures. Text is also absent on the spread where Sally and her friends are putting on a circus performance. At storytime, I asked my audience to describe the different acts that are part of the circus. Readers may also want to fill out the sparse text with their own words. For example, the purple background of the circus scenes may not be sufficient for all audience members to understand that the circus is taking place beneath a tent made from Sally’s socks. Since Sally and the Purple Socks worked so well with the kindergarteners, I’m eager to also share it with preschoolers and early elementary-aged kids this fall. Since my listeners were so excited about the purple in this story, I’m planning a color-themed storytime where I’ll read this book and others that prominently feature different colors.
Check the WRL catalog for Sally and the Purple Socks.