cover image The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes

Eleri Glass, , illus. by Ashley Spires. . Simply Read, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-894965-78-1

Hans Christian Andersen and ballet movies notwithstanding, the red shoes of this title carry no stern message. Holding her mother’s hand, a narrator trudges reluctantly to a city shoe store: “My feet huff, puff/ like two tired trains.” Spires (My Mom Loves Me More Than Sushi ) deftly captures the girl’s sour mood, which brightens when she spots the standout ruby slip-ons amid countless nondescript gray and brown numbers. That same muted palette, used predominantly, and several bird’s-eye perspectives of exaggeratedly tall shoe-filled shelves emphasize her challenging task: persuading her mother (on so different a plane that her face is never seen) and a dour saleswoman to allow her to try on the “happy apples/ waiting to be picked.” Spare text and 1960s fashions lend a subtle sophistication of bygone days when shopping trips required white gloves and dresses. Any child who’s ever begged for the least sensible shoes in the store (and later worn them to bed) will definitely relate. Ages 4–8. (June)