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Peter and the Talking Shoes

Peter and the Talking Shoes

by Katherine Anne Banks, Kate Banks

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School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-In order to try out his ``new'' used shoes, Peter goes off to buy a loaf of bread. He loses his money on the way; at the bakery he discovers that the baker has lost his feather (he can't bake ``light as a feather'' without it). Thus starts the boy's journey for the objects that will allow him to trade for what he needs. The farmer, who has a feather, is missing some buttons; the tailor has buttons, but needs nails; the carpenter is locked out of his house; and the locksmith would like his keys to jingle a tune. The shoes, having once belonged to the sons of all of these different tradesmen, are able to lead the boy on his way until they get to the locksmith where they remain silent. Lo and behold, Peter remembers that he is the son of a musician, and from there he takes control. Although the text uses a traditional story pattern, it is still fresh and original. The modern, quirky illustrations are a cross between the muted colors and varied perspectives of Lane Smith and the innocent characterization of the ``Little Orphan Annie'' comic strip, and add to the book's energy. The shoes' speech is presented in pictorial word balloons. The art and text work hand in hand to produce a balanced, innovative, and ultimately satisfying story.-Martha Topol, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI
Ilene Cooper
In this cumulative tale, Peter, who's got a new pair of shoes (well, a pair of hand-me-down shoes, new to him) sets off to buy a loaf of bread. But by the time he arrives at the bakery, he's lost his coins. Coincidentally, the baker has lost his feather, and he can't bake light-as-a-feather bread without it, so in exchange for a loaf, Peter offers to get the baker a feather. But how? Then the shoes pipe up, "Feathers grow on the cock that crows in the fields of one who sows the seeds." The shoes know that because they used to belong to a farmer. So Peter goes to see the farmer, who's lost the buttons from his pants. He'll give Peter the feather if Peter gets him buttons, and the shoes, who also used to belong to a shoemaker, know just where to go. This would be more fun if the language didn't border on the arcane. When Peter asks where'll he find buttons, for instance, the shoes reply, "Running from the needle, racing round the thread of one who mends the trousers." The art, however, is right at child's level. "Gasoline Alley"-style cartoon characters cavort through a funny retro-world where unusual shapings and offbeat perspectives will catch kids' attention. A new twist on a favorite style of tale.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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