Literacy Milestone: Giving Books As Gifts
Growing Bookworms Newsletter: July 29

Rico the Brave Sock Monkey: Fiona Rempt & Noelle Smit

Book: Rico the Brave Sock Monkey
Author: Fiona Rempt
Illustrator: Noelle Smit
Pages: 24
Age Range: 2-5

Rico the Brave Sock Monkey is a lovely Little Golden Book by Fiona Rempt and Noelle Smit. It was originally published in Amsterdam in 2009, and brought to the US in 2013 by Golden Books. It's the story of a stuffed sock monkey who becomes the best friend of a brown-eyed boy. Rico is brave through various adventures (being shipped to the toy store, brought home to the boy, etc.), but does become scared when the boy, growing up, puts him on a shelf in a closet. There is a happy ending for Rico, however, and he ends up "the happiest sock monkey in the world, and ... afraid of almost nothing."

Rico the Sock Monkey is a straightforward story, told from the third person perspective of Rico in moderate detail. Like this:

"One day in a faraway toy factory, a sock monkey was born.

As he was being stuffed and s stitched
loud noises crashed around him, and
machines swung and rocked him back
and forth. The factory looked like a 
haunted house, but the little sock
monkey was not afraid."

Young readers will feel for Rico when he is placed in the dark closet, and rejoice when he comes out again. Rico is interested in everything around him, and, like all toys in children's book, just wants to be loved. Rico the Sock Monkey is reminiscent of the movie Toy Story 3, with a similar theme, but is, of course, a quieter story. 

Smit's illustrations add to the warm feel of the book. They have that flat, Gold Book look. and an old-fashioned feel despite the fact that the book is fairly recent. The scene in which Rico is hugged by the boy for the first time would make anyone smile, as will Rico's happy scene at the end of the book. 

Rico the Sock Monkey is a quiet little book that celebrates the bond between child and toy, from the perspective of an appealing little toy sock monkey. I hope that this book, like Rico, finds its way into homes where children will love it. I know I do. 

Publisher: Little Golden Books (@RandomHouseKids
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2015 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon and iBooks affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).