Almost 40 years old, this book is timeless. The reading level is 9-12 years old and the book is great for kids of that age, especially if they like cats. But as a read together book, Socks is perfect for even the smallest children.
This book is on my mind right now because a friend of mine is expecting her second child. Now I will admit that I don’t know Cleary’s motive for writing this book, but I think it is about the best “we’re expecting a sibling” book ever written. And since I’ve been in that particular circumstance several times I’ve read quite a few of those. Now of course Socks is not an older sibling. He’s a cat. But I find that viewing the changes a baby brings through a cat’s eye surprisingly fresh. Socks learns that the needs of a baby are immediate, consuming, even overwhelming at times. But he also finds that life soon resumes a more normal pace and that babies are wonderfully fun, endlessly entertaining, sweet little friends to have. Seeing these things through Socks’s eyes provides enough distance to make talking about those changes a little more comfortable. It moves the whole, possibly worrisome situation away just enough to give room for objectivity.
Of course it is just possible that I am reading too much into this story. Socks is also a really fun, quick read for animal-story lovers (I and my reading buddies are among them). Readers of all ages are apt to immediately identify with Socks, reveling with him in his fortunate fate with the newlywed Brickers, and mourning his many tiny defeats after the baby comes to share his home.
Summary from the back of the paperback published by Harper Collins
Socks is one very happy cat. He lives the good life with his nice young owners, Mr. and Mrs. Bricker – they play with him, feed him, and always welcome him with love into their warm laps. Then a new baby arrives. Suddenly little Charles William is getting all the Brickers’ attention! Socks feels left out – and to show it he starts getting into all sorts of trouble! What will it take to make Socks realize just how much the Brickers care about him.
The illustrations in this printing are very engaging too. There’s a good reason Tracy Dockray has the honor of illustrating Cleary’s books. She does a masterful job of visually drawing readers and listeners into the fun of this charming story (and others) . They are done in crisp line drawings enhanced with shading and value fill, blah, blah. More importantly Socks and Charles William are so cute, just like in your head when you’re reading.