“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Red Shoes • Picture Book

The Red Shoes
by Eleri Glass illustrated by Ashley Spires
2008 • Simply Read Books • Picture Book
"The red shoes are happy apples waiting to be picked.'The red ones Mom.'"
Story: A little girl needs new shoes. There are hundreds of pairs of shoes in the shoe store, but they're all the same dull brown or grey — all except one pair. They’re red. Bright red. Fire engine red! And they’re exactly what the little girl wants. But how can she convince her mother and the skeptical sales clerk? Simple, lyrical text and charming watercolor illustrations combine to create a picture book that shows how bright, colorful things can lift one’s spirits. Set in the 1960s, this book also shows young readers the fashions of the era.
Story behind the story: Haven't red ruby slippers always been alluring? What child (or adult) hasn't wanted that special something that was "just out of reach"? The Red Shoes presents a story we can all relate to as evidenced by this early praise:

"This text would be a perfect accompaniment to a writing invitation for children. The descriptive language of the text conjures up images that allow the reader to imagine the tiny ruby gems as something more than just ordinary shoes. They may wonder what kinds of adventures the little girl will go on with her new shoes. Or they may name the character and create their own story about the girl with the red shoes. Children may also have a connection with the character as they think of something that they desire." -- CM Magazine.

"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." -- Publishers Weekly

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please check back and click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.


ShabbyInTheCity said...

Hello! I have tried and tried to go about this by clicking on your sign-up but my "connection wizard" fails. Is there another way to go about this?
Thank you!

Deborah Sloan said...

For anyone who's having trouble, please just send an email to go@simplyreadbooks.com. Include your name, school/library, address and put "Picnic Basket request" in the subject line. Hope that helps - and hope to see your name/review on the site soon!

A. Church said...

The Red Shoes is a rhyming book. It is written in a "singsong" style. The text is full of vivid adjectives. The illustrations show contrast between the bright red shoes and the gray tones of the rest of the story. This book is about a little girl who needs new shoes. There are many to choose from, but they are all the same old colors, except for one pair. They’re red. Bright red. Like Apples! They’re exactly what the little girl wants. She even goes to bed in her new shoes! I used this book for a writing lesson with my 2nd graders. I focused on the descriptive words throughout the book.

Readingteacher2 said...

It's a cute story but I think the illustrations should be more exciting and colorful.

ahslibrarian said...

The Red Shoes offer a chance to go shopping once again, or for the first time, for that special something. Often times, that special something’s value was known only to us. Part of the magic told by Glass and illustrated by Ashley Spires attests to this experience. For younger readers, the story also offers a great experience. The dimensions of the rhyme expand and contract as shoes play a more important role in the quest than the humans that control the circumstances.
Equally impressive are Spires’ style of Seuss meets Van Alsburg illustrations. Not only does the art recall a time that feels like the 1960s, but it is a time when small stores dotted the city-scape and one might even sacrifice a tight fit to secure the shoes they really wanted.
Although the primary audience of the book may well be little girls, it is a book that is also accessible to their fathers and grandfathers. It is a delightful story that continues to make connections and invite conversation about the not so distant past. Include this book in your collection, and maybe even buy a copy to share with that special little child that it brings to mind.

4 out of 5

John Parker
Media Coordinator
Andrews High School
50 HS Drive
Andrews, NC 28901

wordwarrior said...

The Red Shoes written by Eleri Glass and illustrated by Ashley Spires is a wonderful illustration of a book written for a young audience that does not underestimate the ability of the students. I appreciated the strong voice of the author throughout the story. With simple language that a primary reader would be able to tackle, the author shows the feelings of a young girl who falls in love with a new red pair of shoes. The reader feels how tired her old shoes made her feel when she says "My feel huff and puff like two tired trains."
Glass also uses words to invoke visual imagery as she describes the red shoes as "cherry blossum sweet..."
This book is so well written that it can be used with a primary reading audience as a simple story starter to imagine more about the little girl and her red shoes. Where will she wear them? What else might she shop for with her mom? Why did she want the red ones?
An older student audience could study the imagery created by the authors use of similies, metaphors and other types of descriptive language.
I also was quite pleased with the illustrations. They were simple but appealing, adding to the dimension of the story, not taking away from it.
This is a book I would definately place in any classroom, young or old. I will plan on packing it in my picnic basket as a treat for many occassions. I rate this book a 5!!!
Laura Miller
Buhler High School
Paraprofessional, interelated classrooms

Mila said...

'The Red Shoes' is a shopping experience. It is a must-read for little shoes shopper in training...
The illustration for 'The Red Shoes' is simple but, it conveys the story very well. I do love the simplicity of (is it water color?) the cover.
Eleri Glass makes the shoes alive by giving it action and personality that are perceived by the main character ('..ruby whispers, shiny silver giggles...'.
The Red Shoes: 4 Rating rate -- I would definitely recommend it for the girly girls.

Anonymous said...

I just received a copy of The Red Shoes and was immediately drawn to the illustrations. How well drawn are the characters to reflect their moods. I think most young students will be able to relate to a time when an adult took them shopping for shoes and had something different in mind than the child did. Even though the reading level is second grade, there are plenty of words to encourage vocabulary growth.

I rank this book a 3: Good for a sandwich picnic on the lawn in the shade because it is a short, sweet story that has been told before. It makes it's point, but there is nothing exceptional about it.

Julia Pitau
Media and Intervention Technician
Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Tina's Blog said...

I just received Red Shoes by Eleri Glass today and enjoyed reading it...I can hardly wait for storytime tonight at home. I remember my own shoe shopping experiences with my mother and how much I wanted the prettiest pair of shoes, not the ugly functional ones. My own daughters are the same way. How wonderful that those red shoes stand out against the blah background of the other pictures. I loved the illustrations and rhyming text and think many kids will be able to relate to this story.
Rating- 4

Susan Appleton said...

I enjoyed reading this book as it really showed the vibrancy of the personality of a little girl who is drawn to a beautiful pair of red shoes. No matter how much her mother and the salesclerk try to fit her into the mold of the plain, dull shoes, she longs for the beautiful red ones and once she has them....she floats from happiness! I think this is a beautiful and simple story that lets the reader know that you have to be true to your own personality and not conform to what others expect or want for you. The little girl is so happy in the end, that she even sleeps in her new red shoes! What a sweet story! Great theme! I would rank this book a 5!

Pat K. said...

A simple story and simple illustrations compliment the vivid language of this book. The main character is a little girl who has to endure shopping for new shoes - boring, brown lace-ups. She becomes entranced with the red ones and as every child knows they will be the shoes which will change one's life. This book has similies, metaphors, and numerous adjectives making it a great start for any writing lesson (grades 1-3).

a said...

review for "the red shoes". Cute book, not one that grabs either the reader or listener. The story isn't too engaging. The read is simple for young children so it's worth having a copy in your classroom library. Rate this book as a 3, I'm kinda neutral about it.

Liz N. said...

The Red Shoes by Eleri Glass and illustrated by Ashley Spires stands apart from other book themes for kids that seem to be overflowing bookstore shelves.

Its a story that I think everyone can relate to....the shoes could be anything for the reader (a toy, a doll, an electronic game, special bat and ball, tickets to a sporting event, etc). Something we really want and nothing else will do, and we so do appreciate it when we get it.

Definitely can bridge into a lot of different discussions based on the age of the reader or listener. Great metaphors are used throughout.

Some of the wording might be advanced for a younger reader, as they may not understand lines such as "Cherry blossom sweet the breeze that lifts me off my feet" without some translation and explanation.

The illustrations are great. They really support the story along the way and perhaps can help a younger reader translate some of the meaning of the text.

I would give this book a rating of a 4 based on I don't think this is a book that would be picked up and read over and over again. Its a cute story, but not one that I think will grab the interest of kids to call it a favorite.

jwelch said...

I love the illustrations, especially the little girl's facial expressions. Although it seems as though the target audience for the book is children aged 3-6, I think the book would be more appropriately used to teach literary devices for older children. The author makes use of personification, simile and metaphor. After having taught Pre-K for three years, I do not not think that this story is strong enough to keep the interest of young children.
Rating: 3

Maria said...

The Red Shoes has enchanting pictures. It made me want to know more about the little girl and her journey in the Red Shoes. What was lacking was story. The language did not pop for me and it did not express the desire and anticipation the girl feels as she waits for the red shoes to become hers.

The illustrations bring the character to life but I thought she should do more. More dancing. More imagining. I give it a 2 because of the beautiful color and illustrations but it lacks atory and language and leaves me wanting more.

K. Evans said...

Anyone who has a passion for shoes will love this book. I fell in love with it after a few pages. I could actually visualize myself as a child in a shoe store having her feet measured by the "metal monster". I can totally relate to loving a new pair of shoes and wanting to wear them to bed! The book is full of lovely illustrations and is truly a fabulous read. I read the story to my Grade 1 class and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to all ages.

jlarkin said...

First of all, I loved the illustrations. They drew me right into the story - the little girl's expressions were wonderful. I would look and look and then finally read the words.

While the story was good, I really found myself drawn to the descriptions and language used..."measures my feet with the metal monster", "eight cranky shoes", "The red shoes are happy apples", "shoes squatting on the shelves" - GREAT! And I also loved the ending as I remember as a child wanting to wear my brand new shoes to bed as well.

I'd rate it a 4 out of 5 - not sure the story would appeal to all, especially all young boys.

Y. Denise Payne said...

Most females can relate to finding the perfect pair of shoes! In the Red Shoes, an everyday shoe shopping trip presents the perfect pair of fanciful shoes. I would rate this book a 4 out 5. I loved the illustrations but found myself wanting a little more at the end. Its a good read and will make you long for that perfect pair of unneeded, but wanted red shoes.

Katherine Farrington, Colonial School District said...

This is a story that almost all children can relate to - the child wants to buy something but the parent wants her to buy something else. The text is easy to follow and very descriptive. One thing I did not care for is when the author used sentence fragments instead of complete sentences. I prefer books to use the same structure throughout and the sentence fragments were interspersed with the full sentences so I didn't care for some of the text for that reason. The illustrations went along well with the book and the little girl's expressions are very easy to read. However, they are not really colorful so may not grab everyone's attention. I would rate this book a 3 1/2 - a cute story but not a necessity.

webervyn said...

Hello - St. Stephen School, Grand Rapids.

I read The Red Shoes to my 3yr old and did not enjoy it (she did because it has shoes in it) so I did not take it to school because I did not see an educational value. The girl is rather sassy, the illustrations were bland and I didn't understand the plot.

Angie said...

Wow, I am late posting this ... don't let that fool anyone into thinking it isn't the cutest book. Every girl dreams of (and must eventually own) her own pair of Red Shoes. Simple text tells the story of the ups and downs of a shopping outing. The illustrations are my favorite part. They've got a bit of a retro feel to them that is just perfect for the story. Definitely a winner for any girly little girl.