MAMA'S WORK SHOES by Caron Levis


Age Range: 3 - 5
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There's a talkative shoe for every occasion.

Perry the preschooler loves that each kind signals a special time with Mama. Want to cuddle on the couch? Slide into the “swish-swush” slippers. Want to splash in the rain? Pull on the “pat-put” rain boots. Chatty footgear carries Perry happily from one mother-daughter adventure to another—until the arrival of the dreaded “click-clack” shoes. These strange high-heeled contraptions don’t take Mama to Perry, they take Mama away from Perry. After tearful fits and starts and plenty of patience from Mama and Nan, the little girl accepts that even though the click-clack shoes take her mother to work, they also bring her back in time for some bare foot-to-foot “tickle-tickle” sharing. Levis’ concept of associating specific shoes with specific bonding activities is charming, but it’s undercut by rampant onomatopoeia. Instead of limiting the sounds only to shoes, which are nearly protagonists in and of themselves, the text gives voices to the door, the kiss, and more. This, coupled with overlong intervals with Nan, somewhat disrupts both the narrative flow and the emotional impact. Brantley-Newton’s collaged depictions of a middle-class, rambunctious, mixed-race child, her exuberant single mother, and the vivacious Nan (both women of color) are bright and dynamic.

Not perfect but still soothingly reassuring for children learning to share parents with the workplace. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2554-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019


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