Smelly Socks

A colleague of mine (thanks, Jenni) introduced me to this fun, lyrical book – a narrative in rhyme – called Timothy Cox will Not Change His Socks by Robert Kinerk.  Stephen Gammell paints adorable cartoon yet life-like characters that will capture your students’ attention.  As the smell of Tim’s socks degenerates, a yellowish-lime green color emulates from the socks.  I cannot help wrinkling up my nose.

Robert Kinerk shows the determination of Timothy.  Tim decided to see what would happen “if I went a whole month without changing my socks.”  Timothy shares his adventure with Walt, his dachshund, his friend.  Walt does not always agree with his owner’s decision, but he still remains faithful.  As the stench from the socks escalates, his classmates and townspeople cannot stand the “tainted air“.  One student said today during the reading, “How can his dog stand the smell if no one else can?”  Interesting.

The text lends itself to a class discussion on keeping your word.  I can see some debates happening as well as to whether Timothy should follow the rules set by others.  The book ends with a lesson: 

Though it’s right and it’s good that you follow things through,  resist the temptation or waste your ambition on some sort of silly or trivial mission.

The wise thing to do is to think and to plan — which I didn’t do.  But I’m sure that you can!”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks:

  • Repeating line – “Timothy, Timothy, Timothy Cox, won’t yo consider, please, changing your socks?”
  • Passage of time – key points are highlighted on different days throughout the month; “Timmy’s socks the next morning smelled slightly like glue.
  • Illustration clues – the number mentioned in the text is painted somewhere in the illustration
  • Onomatopoeia – “The ‘copter propellers went whup-whup-whup-whup!”
  • Inference/ internal thinking – “Walter was helping Tim carry his cot, and it can’t be repeated — the things that dog thought!”
  • Word choice – grotesque, barrage,tainted, deterred
  • Ending – learning a lesson

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