Collier gives beginning readers a quest of mismatched shoes trying to find the “right” pair after being “left” behind. Yes, all the puns are gleefully intended.
The book opens on a closet of all types of personified shoes. There are the ballet-slipper “fancy shoes,” the casual flip-flops, the stocky boots, and the sporty sneakers. Readers meet their owner, a pigtailed young black girl, who makes the easy decision that just any shoe and another shoe make a pair, leaving the closet of shoes astounded at the prospect of two being mismatched and without their true partners! A postmodern twist comes as Elephant and Piggie intrude to help early readers reflect on the story’s central conflict, with a bit of high jinks and witty dialogue. “What will they do?” says Elephant. “I hoof to know!” says Piggie, her own trotters in the air. On their journey to find their mates the mismatched pair of shoes—one boot and one flip-flop—run into some house slippers who manage to slip in a joke about bananas. All this is on the way to a very funny surprise twist ending that is bound to have readers stomping their feet. Using his trademark collage style, Collier renders his shoes with googly eyes and lots of personality, augmented with color-coded speech balloons (the only text).
Hilarious and very well-executed—shoe-pendous, even—this is a great addition for emerging readers and pun enthusiasts alike. One might say, a perfect pairing. (Early reader. 6-8)