A follow-up to If the Shoe Fits (illustrated by Karla Firehammer, 2001) finds the old woman—not so old but cheery and buxom—and her many children solving a few dilemmas for other nursery rhyme denizens.
The footwear that is their home is quite a fancy shoe, with a lamp affixed to the end of its curled tip. The opening spread sets up the entire story with its panoramic view of shoe, tree with “cradle and all,” fields, town, castle and hill with well atop. The wind rocks the cradle so wildly that the wee tot is tumbled out onto the shoe, to be gently caught by the children, who try right away to put baby and cradle back. The tree from which it fell is now festooned with mittens, and the children soon find the desolate, mittenless kittens. As they go along, they find Mary’s lamb, Bo Peep’s crook, Jack’s candlestick, and Jack and Jill’s pail (among other items) and eventually restore them to their rightful places. It is all told in verse rhymed with grace—verve, even—and illustrated with soft, ballooning figures. The many children of the shoe have round heads and button features, and each is clad in the garb of various and sundry nations and ethnicities. Perspectives swoop and change with the rhythm. There is a moral about “examin[ing] the cost / Of constantly grasping for things that are lost,” but it doesn’t much get in the way.
Children who know the nursery rhymes will enjoy seeing them in a new context, and children who do not can enjoy the rollicking action anyway. (Picture book. 4-7)