BABY NEEDS SHOES by Dale Carlson


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A ten-year-old orphan with a psychic gift for numbers and a natural one for music has found friends and employment in a seedy small time underworld. Janet rents rooms to Racetrack, Sad Sam, aging blond Vivian who has been waiting 30 years for a wedding ring, and Moose, a comparatively straight black law student who is Janet's special friend and protector. She earns a bit more whispering hints to the gang in the illegal crap and poker games held in Fat Charlie's New York warehouse and playing a guitar in Fat Charlie's nightclub, and at last she consents to call the combination numbers for a safecracking job in Shady Louie's adjacent warehouse because Big Mac from Chicago threatens to make Fat Charlie ""very dead"" if he doesn't produce a notebook Louie keeps in the safe. Then too, Janet needs the money for her dumdum sister Julie's hippie/grad student boyfriend so he will marry Julie and save Janet from Family Court. Of course you won't believe a word of it, the characters are unabashed cliches, and their taglike traits (one for each) are demonstrated with tedious repetition and without the flair that could turn the stereotype into farce. However, the guys and dolls atmosphere, unreal as it is, provides a novel and, we suspect, enticing setting for ten-year-old daydreams.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1974
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Atheneum