This original tale from San Souci (Kate Shelley, 1995, etc.), based on a colonial New England legend, makes a richly...

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THE RED HEELS

This original tale from San Souci (Kate Shelley, 1995, etc.), based on a colonial New England legend, makes a richly imagined and tenderly evocative love story. A traveling cobbler, Jonathan Dowse, comes to the home of Rebecca Wyse. She asks him to make new shoes for her, using the fancy red heels of an old pair that belonged to her mother and grandmother. Jonathan feels fear, for red heels are the sign of a witch. Spying on Rebecca that night, he finds ""her secret delight""--she dances on the moonlit pond. She sees him, and he dances, too; it becomes their nightly habit. Despite their growing mutual attachment, he feels he must go on to establish his own store. The next autumn Rebecca appears there and asks him to attach new shoes, suitable for a ""goodwife,"" to the red heels, for she can no longer dance without him. She ends up with two pairs--""One sturdy enough for the day's work; one airy enough for the night""--and Jonathan has also made a dancing pair for himself. The couple wed, and flourish, and, occasionally, dance. The muted autumnal colors of Kelley's pastel illustrations make a fine foil for the unforced depths of this lovely tale: San Souci respects and rejoices in the workaday and magical dualities of life and love. What an extraordinary gift for young readers: a romance that hints at the real complexity of adult love without sentimentality, coyness, or sexism.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996