Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1664
George Washington’s Socks is the story of a group of kids who take a backyard camping trip and end up traveling through time to a critical point in the American Revolutionary War.
As the story begins, ten-year-old Matt Carlton is looking forward to the first meeting of an adventure club he is starting with his friends. Every month, the boys will camp out and read a story from a book called Great Adventures in History. He is in a hurry to leave, but his mom and dad refuse to let him go until he finishes the peas on his dinner plate. When his parents are not looking, he scoops the hated vegetables into the sugar bowl. Unfortunately, his seven-year-old sister, Katie, sees him do this. In order to prevent her from tattling, he invites her to come along on the campout.
Matt’s friends Tony, Q, and Hooter belong to the adventure club with him. They pitch a tent in Tony’s backyard, light a campfire with Tony’s dad’s help, and begin their meeting. Matt reads aloud from Great Adventures in History, sharing a story from the Revolutionary War. In it, George Washington and his men cross the Delaware river in icy winter weather in order to take control of the city of Trenton in a surprise attack.
At the beginning of the club meeting, Matt tells Katie to stay in the tent, but she complains loudly. Eventually, at the insistence of Hooter and Tony, he lets her out. Matt warns them that they will be sorry, but Hooter, an unusually kind-hearted boy, and Tony, who knows what it is like to be left out because he is very small, stand by their decision.
As soon as Katie emerges from the tent, she says, “When do we go on the adventure?” Embarrassed, Matt tells Katie that the campout and story are the adventure. Katie is clearly disappointed, and suddenly Matt feels that the backyard campout is too tame. He makes a snap decision to take a hike to a nearby lake, and he convinces the others to come along.
On the way to the lake, Tony tells everyone about the legend of Lake Levart, which he heard from his grandfather. Some people believe that on nights with a three-quarter moon, an enchanted rowboat appears on the lake and takes people away on mysterious adventures. According to Tony’s grandfather, many of these travelers never return.
Tony’s story makes everyone feel scared, especially when they realize that a three-quarter moon is shining in the sky tonight. This feeling intensifies when Matt notices that Katie is missing. He and his friends rush around looking for her. Eventually they find her standing at the water’s edge, smiling oddly, as a rowboat mysteriously moves toward her through the water. Matt and the other boys run to rescue her, but as they approach the rowboat, it magically makes all their fear disappear. Enchanted, they climb into the boat and row to the center of the lake.
The boat trembles, and a mist surrounds it—and suddenly the members of the adventure club find themselves on an icy river in a snowstorm. In the confusion, Katie falls out of the boat. Matt calls for her in a panic, afraid that she has drowned. At the same time, Q and Tony find a strange inscription on the boat. It says, “Emit Levart.”
Soon, to Matt’s great relief, Katie is rescued from the icy river by a tall, commanding man who wraps her in his cloak. He speaks in odd, old-fashioned language and accuses the kids of attempting to spy on the Continental Army. At first they all think he is crazy, but they see that he is accompanied by a group of soldiers armed with muskets—old-fashioned guns they recognize from pictures in their school history book. Somehow they have traveled through time and space to the Delaware River in 1776, and now they are standing face to face with General George Washington, who is on his way to fight the battle of Trenton.
General Washington brings the...
(The entire section contains 1664 words.)
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