cover image Red Dancing Shoes

Red Dancing Shoes

Denise Lewis Patrick. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10392-7

Returning from a trip, Grandmama brings presents for her family. ``But my present was the most special. It was a pair of the finest, reddest, shiniest shoes that anyone had ever seen,'' declares the likable African American girl who narrates this unassuming yet agreeable story. Impatient to try out--and show off--her gift, the child takes a walk with her older sister. But when she starts running toward her great-aunt Nen's house, she takes a tumble, which leaves her shoes ``sticky and blotchy and muddy.'' The child is devastated until Nen, predictably, restores them to their pristine condition. Patrick's narrative gets a big boost from Ransome's ( How Many Stars in the Sky? ; All the Lights in the Night ) expressive oil paintings, which convincingly impart the joy, fleeting disappointment and gratitude this youngster experiences during an eventful afternoon. The full page, bordered illustrations are complemented by smaller spot art beneath each page of text--a pitcher of lemonade promises relief, a squirrel observes the narrator's perambulations. Ages 4-up. (Jan.)