One Shoe, Two Shoes by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Edward Underwood (9781547600946)
With a clear nod to Dr. Seuss and his iconic Red Fish, Blue Fish, this picture book celebrates rhymes, colors and footwear. The book begins with the dog having one shoe and the human having one shoe, then the two shoes are worn for a walk. There are different colored shoes, knotted laces, cowboy boots, and much more. Then a little mouse makes an appearance near the shoes. Could it be that the shoe is a house for a mouse? How many mice? The counting begins and eventually ends at ten. The dog investigates the mice for awhile but then heads out on another walk after fetching some shoes.
Hart’s text is simple with a bouncy rhyme that keeps the book merry. The pace is fast and jaunty, with plenty of action words along the way to make the book wonderfully playful. The concepts of colors and counting are nicely woven into the story. The circular feel of the book beginning and ending with shoes and walks makes for a book that feels complete.
The illustrations are done in a modern flat style in pencil, ink and collage done with computer assistance. The images are large enough to use with a group and guessing games could be played along the way, matching the shoes with their names, counting the mice (who tend to hide) and finding colors.
A happy book about counting and colors. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.
New Shoes by Chris Raschka (9780062657527)
A child has worn out their old shoes. They have couple of holes in them, big enough to put in a finger. Big enough that water can come in. The child heads off with their mommy to the shoe store. Their feet are measured and are bigger than before. New shoes are chosen off of the display wall. The yellow shoes pinch a bit. The red shoes are comfortable. The child heads off running outside and finds a friend to show their new shoes to.
Written very simply in the child’s voice, this book speaks to the joy of new shoes after wearing a pair out. It is the perspective of the illustrations that make this book so unique and special. Shown only from the child’s point of view looking down towards their feet, the illustrations focus on what the child sees. It’s endearing and very personal. A delight of a picture book for the youngest children, this one will make a great board book too. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)
Toesy Toes by Sarah Tsiang (9781459813427)
This board book focuses entirely on toes and the joy of discovering them. With a diverse cast of children in the vivid and charming photographs that fill the pages, this one is a great pick for the smallest children. The book has a simple format, bright colors and a rollicking rhythm that keeps the pace brisk and lively. Sure to have everyone playing with their own toes! Appropriate for ages 1-2. (Reviewed from library copy.)
Wee Beasties: Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths (9781534410800)
A lovely light-hearted board book that tells the story of a python who just can’t seem to hug things without squeezing them far too hard. Huggy tries to hug a balloon with an explosive result. The mess is even larger when he shows how much he loves cake. When a puppy enters the story though, it’s time for young readers to demonstrate a very gentle hug in the hopes that Huggy will be able to imitate them. Dyckman is an author who always gets her tone for young readers just right and this is no exception. Expect lots of toddler giggles with this one! One of those special board books that has a real story arc, this one is funny and filled with love. Appropriate for ages 1-2. (Reviewed from library copy.)
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell
King Neptune’s 50 daughters are all special and talented in their own ways. All except for Minnow who tries to be like her sisters, but only manages to ask lots and lots of questions about things. Minnow did not fit in with her sisters at all, often drifting alone on her own. Then one day, she found a remarkable object in the water, a red shoe. She tried asking her sisters what it was for, but none of them knew, so Minnow headed out to answer her own questions and find out what the red object was for. Minnow swam closer and closer to shore, discovering answers to some of her other questions like why crabs don’t have fins. Then she found out exactly what shoes were for and headed home to tell the others. In the end, Minnow not only discovers the answers she is looking for, but she discovers exactly what her special talent is too.
Campbell, author of the uproarious Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, returns with a quieter book that shows the same sort of depth as the first. This book beautifully wrestles with deep questions about one’s purpose in life and how to remain true to oneself rather than give in to external pressure. Disney’s The Little Mermaid comes to mind throughout the story, but in the end this is a unique mermaid story that holds up well against the Disney version.
The illustrations are rather haunting. They pair the darkness of the deep water with a near glowing brightness of the mermaids. The mermaids have drifting white-blonde hair that moves with the currents, fish tails that look like real fish, and small seashells to cover their chests.
Beautiful, quiet and deep like the ocean, this book will find readers in Little Mermaid fans who may just have found a new favorite mermaid to adore. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.