A resourceful feline comes to the aid of a shoemaker.
With no orders to work on, the poor shoemaker shares his last meager meal with his cat. The cat, however, has a better idea. With a brand new pair of stylish red boots on his own two feet, he sets out for the local monster’s castle deep in the dark woods. There, he proceeds to cater to the greedy monster, who “must have the right shoes to match whatever creature he turned himself into.” There are lace-ups for when he becomes a zebra, high boots for when he is a bear and clogs for his time as a baboon. The monster, however, does not care to pay for any of the footwear, so the cat has the shoemaker fashion a pair of the very finest and tiniest shoes, fit for a mouse. And the rest is the best sort of fairy-tale ending. Monster becomes mouse; mouse becomes a meal for cat—and the shoemaker, now busy at work in the castle, and his cat fare very well indeed. Imai skillfully blends elements of popular stories into a fresh, clean tale, abetted by translator Uchida and adapter Westerlund. Her sophisticated artwork uses linear design to great effect by highlighting size differences and perspectives. The muted palette of greens, browns and oranges lends a slightly mysterious air.
Friendship trumps greed in this satisfying tale. (Picture book. 4-7)