Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe

Wallace Edwards. Orca, $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0154-7
Edwards (The Cat’s Pajamas) uses a “House That Jack Built”–style verse as scaffolding for a series of enigmatic, beautifully drafted paintings. “This is Uncle Wally’s old brown shoe,” he begins. The laceup shoe is actually a shoe-car; it appears in every picture, passed mysteriously from one animal to the next. At the outset it sits surrounded by an admiring crowd of miniature toys and animals, including a baby alligator, several birds, and a kitten in striped pajamas who hops right in: “This is the kitten/ That drove around in Uncle Wally’s old brown shoe.” Visual elements—the striped pajamas, a tiger, the face of a king, a small airplane, and many more—proliferate, morph, and refer to themselves in endlessly imaginative ways, as when echoes of the tiger’s beard can be seen in the wings of a moth and again on the king on a playing card. As the rhyme circles around to the beginning, questions abound. Is the tiger, in fact, Uncle Wally? And if he dreamt the whole thing, who is the tiger in the dream? Much speculation will fuel re-readings. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4598-0155-4
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-4598-1348-9
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