Those Shoes
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Those Shoes

3.8 4
by Maribeth Boelts, Noah Z. Jones
     
 

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"In this witty, wise picture book, Boelts presents a kid’s-eye view of a consumer fad that rages through school at gale force." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they

Overview

"In this witty, wise picture book, Boelts presents a kid’s-eye view of a consumer fad that rages through school at gale force." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for "want," just "need," when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
"I have dreams about those shoes. Black high tops. Two white stripes." Jeremy sees them everywhere—on billboards, in his spelling words, and worst of all, on most of the other kids in his class. After Jeremy's shoes fall apart, he has to accept a pair that makes his classmates laugh, but his loving grandmother says she has only enough money for "need," not "want," and what he needs are winter boots. They do find a pair of the coveted shoes in a thrift shop, but they're too small; Jeremy buys them anyway with his own savings. After limping about for days, he admits defeat and goes back to the embarrassing pair, while Grandma quietly places a new pair of black boots in his closet. When Jeremy notices that Antonio—his best friend and the only one who hasn't laughed at him—is wearing taped-together shoes, will he be able to give the glorious too-small shoes to his smaller friend? Author Boelts's experience with children as a teacher and mentor has served her well, while Jones's digitally-assembled watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations add dimension and humor to the tale with their vibrant colors, smooth shapes, and facial expressions deftly drawn with the simplest of lines. Kids will have fun exploring the many delightful details like the band-aids on Jeremy's blistered feet, the cafeteria lunches, and Jeremy's dinosaur models. This is a sweet story of obsession, envy and the have-nots, but also of love, friendship and being happy with the good things you have. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3
Jeremy desperately wants a pair of advertised sneakers. "I have dreams about those shoes. Black high-tops. Two white stripes." In fact, some of his classmates already own them. However, money is tight, and his grandmother reminds him that there is a difference between what he wants and what he needs (he needs winter boots). He buys with his own money a used pair of the cool sneakers even though they are too small, saying "sometimes shoes stretch," but ends up with bandage-covered feet. This story exposes the value many children place on wearing the same cool clothing as or fitting in with the in-crowd; however, a message of generosity shines through when Jeremy gives his prized sneakers to a friend in need who has smaller feet. Illustrations done in pencil, ink, and watercolors effectively depict the grays and browns of the wintertime inner-city setting, the institutional greens and blues of the school, and the warm hues of this African-American home. The characters' faces, drawn with thin lines, wide-set eyes, and a variety of skin tones, are expressive. A poignant, thought-provoking book.
—Kirsten CutlerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
The hottest fad can also be the most expensive and out of reach for children in limited financial circumstances. Jeremy, living with his Grandma, dreams of wearing the latest cool black high-tops with two white stripes. But as Grandma points out, "There's no room for ‘want' around here-just ‘need' " and what Jeremy needs and gets is a new pair of winter boots. Jeremy's quest for new sneakers takes on more urgency when his old pair fall apart, and the only choice is the Velcro baby-blue set meant for little kids found in the school's donation box by the guidance counselor. Even Grandma understands and together they search several thrift shops and actually find the coveted black high-tops, but they're too small. Buying them anyway, Jeremy makes a heartfelt decision to put them to a more practical and generous use. Boelts blends themes of teasing, embarrassment and disappointment with kindness and generosity in a realistic interracial school scenario bringing affecting closure to a little boy's effort to cope in a world filled with materialistic attractions and distractions. Muted browns/greens/blues done in watercolors, pencils and ink, and digitally arranged, add to the story's expressive affirmation of what is really important. (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763642846
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
06/09/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,223
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile:
AD680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Maribeth Boelts is a former preschool teacher who has written numerous books for children. She lives in Iowa with her husband and three children.

Noah Z. Jones is the illustrator of NOT NORMAN: A GOLDFISH STORY, THE MONSTER IN THE BACKPACK, and WELCOME TO THE BED AND BISCUIT. He lives in Maine.

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Those Shoes 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
mswilliams1 More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be  filled with stereotypes that are completely insensitive and offensive, particularly toward African-Americans. The message- of empathy, sharing,and gratitude for the little one may have- in this book, framed in these stereotypes, is compromised. The text and illustrations reinforce negative portrayals (of its subjects) for its likely audience, including educators; as well as presenting potentially humiliating experiences for children in similar circumstances if read to a group/class. For example, the main character is an African-American boy who: lives in what appear to be projects evidenced by such buildings outside of his window and who lives with his very large grandmother who "sits down heavy"- no visible mother or father; leaning against garbage can in litter-strewn play yard with foot coming out of torn-apart shoes; receiving velcro shoes from the Caucasian guidance counselor who keeps a box of stuff for kids who need things.This book has been selected as a school-wide read-aloud at my inner city school with a predominantly Latino and African-American low-income student population. I am extremely disappointed over the insensitivity and lack of any real critical judgement on the part of the committee that chose it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a boy named Jeremy and his friend Antonio that want a new pair of shoes but they cant afford it.  This book teaches you about friendship.  I recommend this book because it is a good book for all people to read.
booklover2000 More than 1 year ago
It is a humbling story and so true to life for so many children. It teaches children how to be grateful and giving, but it also shows an example on how easily people get caught up on material objects because others have it. I think it is different and every child should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By: Jody and Katie This review is from: Those Shoes(library binding) We enjoyed the book and feel it would be a good book to teach tolerance and compassion to students in a classroom. Many students will be able to make personal connection to this book. The pictures and colors are mundane and do not draw the reader in, however they work well with the story line. Jeremy is a typical elementary student who struggles with the peer pressures of school and the balance of home life.