________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 4 . . . . October 10, 2008

cover The Red Shoes.

Eleri Glass. Illustrated by Ashley Spires.
Victoria, BC: Simply Read Books (Distributed by Publishers Group Canada), 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-894965-78-1.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Stacie Edgar.

**** /4


The red shoes are happy apples waiting to be picked.
"The red ones Mom."

This simple, elegant book captures the yearning and whimsy of a little girl desiring something just out of her reach---a delicate pair of red shoes. The story begins with mother and daughter on an outing to buy a new pair of shoes. The girl tries on a few drab, brown and grey shoes, actions which lead to a bored little girl, an exasperated mother, and an annoyed store clerk. Then, among the rows of sensible footwear, the little girl spots them, high on a shelf---a perfect pair of red shoes. The mother gives in to the pleading young girl and purchases the impractical shoes.

internal art

     Author Eleri Glass has used an iconic notion that weaves its way throughout storytelling history. The Red Shoes is the title of an 1845 fairytale written by Hans Christian Anderson. In 1948, a British film was produced loosely based on Anderson's original story. Then there are Dorothy's ruby slippers, which were brought to the viewing audience in the1939 musical The Wizard of Oz, which elevated the red shoe to stardom.

     Glass has created a young character that illustrator Ashley Spires envisions as a fine-featured, timeless girl. The monotone, water colour and pencil illustrations emphasize the uniqueness of the special shoes. The juxtaposed placement of the illustrations also highlights the poetic text. The beautiful rhythmic words convey a dreamlike and endearing feeling through imagery and personification.

     This text would be a perfect accompaniment to a writing invitation for children. The descriptive language of the text conjures up images that allow the reader to imagine the tiny ruby gems as something more than just ordinary shoes. They may wonder what kinds of adventures the little girl will go on with her new shoes. Or they may name the character and create their own story about the girl with the red shoes. Children may also have a connection with the character as they think of something that they desire. The lovely language and delightful illustrations of this text will bring enjoyment and pleasure to children and adults alike.

Highly Recommended.

Stacie Edgar teaches in the Winnipeg School Division and enjoys sharing the wonders of words and the pleasures of reading with all her students.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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