Tony Millionaire is following a well trodden path with Sock Monkey, by anthropomorphising toys and giving them a life of their own. However, this is no bedtime story for children. Instead Millionaire has created a strange, violent world for Uncle Gabby, his monkey made from an old sock, and Drinky Crow, a toy crow with buttons for eyes. These well-spoken but naive creatures often head out on adventures but usually end up in pieces or ablaze.
The first story in the book is beautiful, tragic and the perfect opener. From there, however, since we quickly learn what to expect, its strange differentness starts to become familiar. The power of that first read can’t be recaptured, though some of the stories come close and sparks of brilliance still crackle throughout.
The art is spot on, with a timeless style that reverberates a fascinating mix of strangeness and antiquity, both dark and subtle. Uncle Gabby and Drinky Crow’s childlike innocence is light and airy, but the scrapes they get into are horrific and weird. Just don’t give it to your kids.