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Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks    by Robert Kinerk & Stephen Gammell order for
Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks
by Robert Kinerk
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Have you ever noticed how stubborn small children can get about the oddest things? Timothy Cox embarks on just such a power struggle when he decides (against the good advice of his dachsund Walt) to go 'a whole month' without changing his socks. He does it in the most engaging verse (by Robert Kinerk) too, while Stephen Gammell's funny illustrations bring out the effects on schoolmates and neighbors of the mounting smell.

Timothy's parents remain in denial for most of the month - 'our boy, we believe, is the best ever seen. / He's courteous, beautiful, brilliant, and clean.' Aren't all children to their mom and dad? Of course, the reactions of those who come within smelling distance of Timmy grow stronger as the days pass, and that distance spreads further. At school, Principal Plum 'let Timmy know in hygienical prose / that his socks were an insult to everyone's nose' and sends him home. The neighbors put up signs, the Board of Health calls, the sheriff shows up, and Tim's parents move him to the garage. Soon, there are copters overhead, fire hoses in play, and even a skunk finds the odor overwhelming.

The lesson? At the end of the month, Tim advises us, 'Though it's right and it's good that you follow things through, / resist the temptation to waste your ambition / on some sort of silly or trivial mission.' Enjoy Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks, which has great fun with the same kind of hilarious exaggeration as in Dr. Suess's I Am Not Going To Get Up Today.

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