There are few pleasures simpler or as rewarding as reading to (and with) your little one.
Sometimes a children’s book captures the imagination of the child and the out-loud reader alike, A Child of Books being a perfect example. Other times, it seems kids latch onto a particular book and want to hear it again and again, to the point of driving their long-suffering parents to detest that story, while still being able to recite it verbatim.
Fox’s Socks, by Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, is one such book for me.
From about 13 months, right up to relatively recently, this book was our most read bedtime story. Mimi loved it. And it’s great, of course, a charmingly illustrated tale that introduces new vocabulary, and hones motor skills with its lifting flaps.
It maybe speaks also of the power of persistence.
Thing is, the more I read it the more I got a bit weirded out by this book – it always left me with too many questions.
For a start, what the hell was going on in that house the night before?
Fox has woken up wearing only his trousers, and proceeds to trawl the gaff, finding items of clothing in the strangest places.
What was he on? What could possibly have possessed him to put his vest in a box, his shirt under the stairs, and his hat under the bathroom rug?
One of the offending socks is finally located in the hallway grandfather clock, while the other is up in the attic. How utterly blasted do you have to be to hide your own gear all over the place?
All the evidence points to one thing –
‘Poor old Fox’ has a rather serious substance abuse problem.
Other pointers that led me to this conclusion were:
1. The plethora of buckets in the house, if you look, there’s a few about. One assumes that these are for when Fox decides to lock himself in a room to go cold turkey, as seen in Trainspotting.
2. Fox is followed everywhere on his clothing hunt by a mute, creepy mouse character. This mouse sips tea and preens while auld Foxy hunts. So Mousey is either Fox’s lover, parole officer, or dealer – I’m thinking the latter.
3. By the time Fox is even nearly ready to leave the house, the clock reads ten-past-eleven. The sap is already at least two hours late for work, and still has no socks! We must assume so, that Fox has let his addiction affect his work life. Maybe he’s already lost it.
So, after Mimi was long asleep and I was still stewing over the hidden themes in a Tale from Acorn Wood, I decided to recaption my own version of the story.
Ladies and Gents, I give you (with apologies)…. Fox’s Detox: