In Best’s debut children’s book, a 9-year-old girl puts on a pair of magic shoes and travels to a fantasy kingdom.
One day, young Krikkit finds a pair of shiny black leather shoes among some discarded items outside a store. She shoves them under her bed and forgets about them, but later, while cleaning her room, finds them again and puts them on. They fit perfectly—but she soon realizes that the shoes are walking by themselves. They walk her right through her bedroom walls and into a magical kingdom called D’Arragon. A helpful sorcerer named Jara explains that a prophecy made generations ago is now coming true: The royal family is in danger due to a struggle for the throne. Consulting an old book, Jara discovers that the magical shoes belonged to Syntaba, a previous sorcerer, and they “can take the person who is wearing them wherever they want to go, even going back and forth between the past and the present.” Krikkit goes on to use the magic shoes in several adventures—along with Jara, and later, the returning Syntaba—and helps the royal family regain the throne. Best’s story has the same sort of longing for adventure that made The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy put on the ruby slippers, and young readers will likely enjoy how she helps save the kingdom. Some plot points, however, might have been handled better. Some are small inaccuracies, such as the narrator explaining that “Krikkit had not been sure if the ram was a he or a she”; a ram is male by definition. Others, however, affect the whole book: In a guarded castle, for example, why can anyone just go up and knock on the front door—and why would the king answer it himself? If it’s so essential that Jara doesn’t “interfere” with the prophecy by using his powers, why is Syntaba’s contribution just fine? Also, the fact that the shoes and other sorcery are so powerful gives the book little sense of danger; they resolve the threats so quickly that readers may not feel the characters’ thrill at overcoming them.
A slight children’s story, but young readers may enjoy putting themselves in Krikkit’s shoes.