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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shoe Bop! Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata. Dutton, Penguin. 2008. $17.50 ages 5 and up


Sneakers for basketball,
Sneakers for running.
Sneakers with sequins
that make me look stunning.
Sneakers for gym class
(p.u. how they'll reek).
But where are the sneakers
to wear when I sneak?"

Marilyn Singer, poet extraordinaire, has something to say about the inspiration for this book of shoe poems that Erin will love...she is a 'shoe fanatic.'  Here, in Marilyn Singer's words, you hear about this homage to the shoe and those who love them:

"Well, I'm not a big shoe shopper, but I do understand how any shopper can be both excited and daunted by a huge variety of something. And I do like the possibilities that shoes suggest. The challenges involved researching that variety and those possibilities and writing the poems in the voice of a young girl. I'm always conscious of voice and being consistent with it. Funnily enough, when I started working on the book, my husband and I began to take ballroom/Latin dance lessons (which we're still doing!), and I bought my first pair of dance shoes with special suede soles for moving easily on the floor. That helped me understand shoe shopping the most."

I do not like shoe shopping, so I have little experience that helps me understand the great joy that this young and enthusiastic shoe shopper has for the task. It is when her sneakers die that a trip to the shoe store is imminent. Mama seems excited and so is her daughter. The store's impressive collection offers shoes:

"for walking and whirling and watching TV,
for enclosing your toes or setting them free,
for riding, for striding, for comfort, for speed."

The decision is difficult. The salesman measures for size and offers up a wide array of styles. She looks at a number of shoes for school, but remembers that sneakers are what is needed. And the colors are amazing; but, no purple. Well, maybe she should try party shoes, or exploring shoes, or noisy and quiet shoes. The list is endless. None of them suits:

"Shoes I'm Not Getting Today

Toe shoes,
snow shoes,
swimming flippers.
White nurse shoes,
matching purse shoes,
winter boots with zippers.
Teeny shoes,
genie shoes,
golf shoes with spikes.
First base shoes,
outer space shoes,
any shoes my brother likes!"

Ah, she really does like sneakers and that is the end result for this warm, funny 'shoe bop'!

Can you guess the color? I think not! Hiroe Nakata gives you a hint on the front cover and then offers up a boldly colored, detailed look at the quest for new shoes. Her full spreads, single page spreads and many spot illustrations match the poetry with panache and purpose. I love the changing personality of the young girl as she is mesmerized by the endless number of choices the shoe store offers. And her brother is a bother at every turn. What an engaging book of poetry to share!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds unusually good. I'll be on the lookout for it.

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