Children's Literature - Trina Heidt
William was the luckiest boy he knew. He had magic red cowboy boots. They weren't magic in the way most people would think but when he wore them, William could travel to any time and any place that he thought of in the blink of an eye. He went canoeing down the Amazon, spent a day in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and at least one day a week he drove a herd of cattle up the Chisholm Trail. The very best part of William 's day began every morning after he brushed his teeth and slipped on his magic red boots. But then one morning he woke up and they didn't fit. He could not make them fit no matter what he tried. That night, after crying himself to sleep and thinking of all the places that he'd never visit again, William suddenly finds himself back on the Chisholm Trail. Looking down, and expecting to see his boots, all he saw were his own bare feet. It was then that he realized where the true magic came from. Emerson and Post, with vibrant illustrations, have created a wonderful adventure celebrating the magic of childhood and the importance of a child's imagination.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-William has a pair of magical red cowboy boots that transport him down the Amazon, to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and on a longhorn cattle drive up the Chisholm Trail. When he outgrows his boots, he is crushed. Then he falls asleep, dreams about the wonderful places that he has seen, and realizes that ``it wasn't the boots that were magic. It was him.'' Large full-color paintings convey the rich variety of the boy's journeys, with deep blue backgrounds and brightly tinted lines and shadings. However, while they're attractive, they are rather static. The travels are exotic, but do not seem particularly filled with joy. William himself is a bit overshadowed, and readers don't get much of a sense of his personality, either through the illustrations or text. The well-meaning conclusion, which implies that imagination is the real magic, may disappoint some readers drawn to the story by the fantastic element.-Steven Engelfried, West Lynn Library, OR
Young William leads an extraordinary life. With his magic cowboy boots and his faithful dog, Bob, he can travel anywhere he wants just by thinking about it. He can canoe down the Amazon, ride a bucking bronco in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and drive a herd of cattle up the Chisholm Trail, all this and more because of the mysterious magic in his soft, red cowboy boots. But as William's mind grows from his wonderful experiences, his feet also grow, until one day, his boots no longer fit. It's only by accident that William comes to realize that the magic is not in the boots after all--it's in him. Children will be attracted to the brief text, which is printed in large, dark type, but although the story is imaginative, there isn't much plot. It will be Post's superb, realistic illustrations of exotic places--not the tale itself--that will attract kids.
Read an Excerpt
Every morning when William Wilkins got out of bed, he brushed his teeth, patted his dog, Bob, and put on his cowboy boots.
They weren't just ordinary boots. For one thing, they were bright red. They were soft, too, as soft as Bob's ears.
But the most unordinary thing about William's cowboy boots was this: they were magic.