This original, heartwarming and highly amusing tale about lovely, lonely Annaliese is related by Annaliese’s sock monkey, Throckmorton S. Monkey. (The “S.” stands for “Sock.”)
All of her nine years, Annaliese has lived with her father, her twin brothers, a kind cook and a nasty, fish-smelling maid in a crumbling mansion by the sea. She does not remember her long-gone mother, and her father has forbidden the topic. As the story opens, Annaliese is excited about party invitations that have arrived for her family’s sock monkeys and their keepers. As Annaliese’s father explains to the latest governess: “Whenever a baby is born into the family, Great-Grandmama Easterling makes a sock monkey.” The old woman herself is hosting the lavish party-cum–family reunion for her 90th birthday on Valentine’s Day, and before the day arrives, Annaliese and Throckmorton suddenly learn more and more secrets about Annaliese’s mother. As the story proceeds unerringly to the tidying of every loose end, readers will enjoy such spectacles as the Grand March of sock monkeys and keepers and the mayhem that follows. Throckmorton’s careful observations of human nature, coupled with his inability to move freely, add a pleasing, fresh dimension.
This unusual novel is old-fashioned in the best sense of the word, conveying universal truths and values through the use of sentient toys. (Fantasy. 7-11)