Chris is a normal ten year old boy in the fifth grade. He wants to be an inventor when he grows up. In the meantime, life is a bit different these days since his baby sister arrived. Now, his mom has to stay home nearly all the time to take care of the baby and Chris isn’t happy about that. They don’t get to spend time together like they used to or go anywhere together. Now he has to ride the school bus or get dad to take him and mom isn’t around his school during the day like she used to be. Still, all in all, Rachel is cute and he likes to play with her and he is adjusting to the new family dynamic. The real issue these days is that she keeps losing a sock and according to mom it is becoming a real problem.

Chris, intrigued by the problem gets to thinking on it as he tries to invent a solution. Despite numerous setbacks and his own tempter tantrum that mom helps him deal with; he finally comes up with an idea. An idea that leads him to e-mail correspondence with a very important person at NuPont, an issue aboard the space station, and a way to prove mom’s point that anything is possible when one puts his or her mind to it.

Several years ago when my youngest was still in elementary school, the students were required to do a mandatory book creation project each spring. Each student was required to write and illustrate a story that would be bound in hardcover by some company and sent back to the family for posterity. While the first book was free, friends and family were encouraged to order extras to celebrate the achievement of seeing the child’s work in print in a hardback book.

This book reminds one of those projects. After an acknowledgement written by the author thanking mom for being a spiritual agent as well as designing the cover, dad for his glowing reviews, husband for his support, daughter for hers, son for his, his fifth grade class and teacher Mrs. Monroe who provided illustrations and the back cover blurb quote as to how utterly fantastic the book is respectively, the author writes a forward as well as an introduction about the creative process and inspiration. The back of the book features more of the same from pages 69 to the end using quotes from child readers and a plug for other projects being developed by the author.

In between is the actual text of the story. A story that will annoy many adults because beyond the occasional typo and frequent punctuation errors, the premise itself is fatally flawed. Beyond the sheer unbelievably of the tale that a child asks a question via e-mail to the Lead Project Engineer that solves an engineering problem for a company trying to help astronauts aboard the space station or the fact that the plant gears up mass production for testing within hours of the signing of the contract between the family and the company among many other issues, the patent process doesn’t remotely work the way described by the author. What would take months, if not years, is time compressed into a matter of a few days in this regard as well in nearly every other issue. The book, for adult readers, fails the plausibility test and will drive those of us who have engineers in the family crazy.

However, this book was designed and created for children and not adult readers. For the age group targeted, elementary school age children, this book tells an inspiring story at a fast pace. Because of their lack of sophistication they won’t notice the flaws and instead will be captivated by the tale and illustrations. For that age group, the book succeeds in its mission even while making adults cringe.

Astro Socks: A Novel

By Leigh M. Le Creux

iUniverse, Inc.

http://www.iuniverse.com

2008

ISBN #978-0-595-46375-6

75 Pages

 $9.95  

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Currently reading “Some Like It Hot-Buttered” by Jeffrey Cohen
(Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin)

Book Reviews and more http://kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com/

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