I would like to thank the author of the book – Darla Woodley for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Red Socks go with Absolutely Anything is children/adult picture book and is the first book by Darla Woodley. Although it was published only this year, it already has received Literary Classics Seal of Approval and has set out to great works of charity. I received not only a copy for reviewing, but also a copy to give to away to a charity I feel close to and exactly the same things happens, if you buy the book – for every book that you buy – one is given to those in need. I didn’t have to think a lot, where I would like to send my copy – it is going to go to my very first library, where librarians in my young age new me by name, it has a very poor choice of books in English and inspired by Darla I am going to give the library some more young adult books from my own collection, because I believe that they could help children access literature that is not available for them and help in learning English and keeping up with modern literature.
This book is a family story about mother that inspires her child to be and do whatever he feels like he is meant to. She is by her little ones side and teaches trust, bravery, honesty and tradition. The story follows various stages of life and shows the full cycle – from mother caring about her child, to child caring about his mother and giving everything back – making her brave and strong, when she needs it the most.
I honestly think that this again is a book that has to be read together with the child and perhaps even to be re-read in different stages of life. What I felt was that every page in this book is a new chapter, it is a chance to talk with the kid about his fears and expectations, it is a chance to show support and prepare the child for the world. And for me it is not only an book for children, because so often adults forget to be supportive of their kids, they forget not to be mean and they hurt their own children without even knowing it. I think this book very successfully brings back empathy in adults, if it sometimes gets lost in everyday’s rush.
This is not a book that you sit down, read from cover to cover and then kiss the kid goodnight and forget about it. You talk and talk, and support and change yourself in order to become better parent, because of the inspiration the book gives and because you can’t just be indifferent, after creating this great vision in your children.
I really liked the red socks metaphor and the explanation of what they symbolize and I think that very often families don’t speak of love, trust and friendship enough and this gives the chance! And it is wonderful that you don’t actually have to have the red socks, it can be a yellow scarf or a blue belt – it can be anything, significant to your own family, the thing that doesn’t take words – Hey, kid, it is your big day? I put this on for you, because I love, believe and trust in you!
There’s a lot of potential in this book and it is great that it never mentions names of any of the characters, it gives another chance for the parent reading this book, make the decision with the kid, what the characters should be named and if they should be named after the readers (themselves), creating even stronger bond between the book and family reading it.
The illustrations in this book are very comic-like and they are black and white, except for the socks, which I see for another opportunity – if the family decides that their symbol will be the socks, they can spend time naming the other characters and deciding, who also gets a share in their story (colour their socks red too), if they decide on a jumper or a scarf, they can just draw it in or colour the pieces of clothing they have chosen. I’m sure that many people are against writing or colouring anything in books, but you know, children usually don’t care about it and will do it anyway and this is just a way to make it more special. This can be one of those things that a young adult will find in his closet and show to you smiling and say: “Hey, mom, remember this…”
I absolutely loved the idea behind the book and the inspiration it gives, I really do hope that people use this book in all the ways I managed to find and many more. (Yes, my years of studying education and practicing in schools are not forgotten.) I know that to many people this all seems like waste of time, but I would like to encourage them to think again, because, if you have a child and do not spend time together, so not have traditions and don’t support the little one, do you think you are a responsible parent?
Sure there are some things that could be spoken of, but speaking about writing or characters in a children book is like saying that good old Bear wouldn’t be friends with a Rabbit or a Piglet, or Christopher Robin (because they are all tasty).
I was hesitant about rating this book, because I wasn’t really sure how much to give it, I think it is still sinking in and I might change the rating later, but I decided to go for four stars out of five in my goodreads page. I would recommend it to people with children, you might not know what happens in that little head, perhaps he does need support and reminder that you are on his side and always will be. Perhaps that inspiration and motivation and lack of fear is the thing that the kid needs right now.