CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 11 . . . . January 31, 2003
This bouncing rhythmic poem, celebrating a little girl's love for and pride in her NEW shoes, will delight the early years crowd. Now, these are no ordinary shoes. They are BLUE and MAGICAL! These shoes "ride on a whale" and "see him splash his tale"; they "swing on a rope" "with an antelope"; and even "eat bread and cheese" with "two chimpanzees.” But these talented shoes can also do everyday things. They can "jump off a log"; "hop and skip to school"; and "tap out a tune."
This little charmer has all the elements of a good early years book. The strong rhythm and rhyme, gives a sing-song quality to the verse which is fun and invites children to chime in. The author accommodates this urge by repeating the complete poem at the end. In a style reminiscent of Seuss' rhyming and repeating verse and Sheree Fitch's talent for lilting rhythm, Sally Fitz-Gibbon has written an engaging verse full of joy and imagination, and one to which young children can relate because it deals with a child's interest. Even the elders in the crowd will recall the sheer happiness, as a child, of wearing something brand new. The content and visual aspect of this witty and fresh poem has "action" and will appeal to the fun and humour in a child.
The whimsical watercolour paintings are child-like and brim full of energy and enthusiasm, keeping with the lighthearted mood of verse. From the end papers, which feature a variety of blue shoes, through to the ponds of New York's Central Park, the Zoo and off to school, Farida Zaman's exuberant illustrations surge with life in each double-page spread and, of course, include a great deal of blue! There is lots to look at and to investigate, and the interplay of pictures and text really draws the viewer in.
The back cover revisits the delighted girl in her blue shoes, with the comment: "A toe-tapping story for itchy little feet!" You bet!
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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