Feet Man and Mr. Tiny

Gina Freschet, Author
Gina Freschet, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-32294-6
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One misfit learns from another how to put his best foot forward. Feet Man, shy and reclusive, walks barefoot because no shoes fit (""his foot size was triple-extra-umpteen-large""), and his unkind neighbors taunt him with merciless cliches ("" 'Careful, he might stand up for himself!' 'Or he might put his foot down!' ""). Life changes when Feet Man discovers a leprechaun-like man, sporting a green overcoat and top hat, wedged between his toes. Mr. Tiny empathizes with the trials of being different, but emphasizes the positive. Like the townsfolk, he speaks in cliches, as when urging his friend to enter a shoestore-sponsored contest (e.g., ""With dogs like yours, you're a shoe-in to win""). Freschet's watercolors incorporate an understated humor that offsets the text's slapstick tone: in a street scene, five birdhouses clutter one tree, while a man and dog sit in a diner booth. The supporting cast resembles comic strip characters, with exaggerated noses and different-shaped eyes. This tale trumpets its message about the transforming power of friendship. Ages 4-8.
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