When I came home tonight, I found the picture book I’d ordered earlier in the week waiting for me in my mailbox. This isn’t just any picture book, though; this is the picture book that I spent most of Kindergarten being in love with. Possibly most of First Grade too, come to think of it.
Last weekend, during one of the sessions of the conference, I decided that it would be fun to talk about a different book each week and since Friday is the hardest day for me to come up with new words, that seems like the perfect day to talk books. So. From now on, Friday is Book day! (That just sounds more fun than Book Review, don’t you think?) Finding that picture book in my box was a sign that I should start Book day today, and that I should start with….
New Blue Shoes
by Eve Rice
New Blue Shoes was published in 1975 so it wasn’t the easiest book to get ahold of but after hearing some of the editors, agents, and authors at last weekend’s conference calling out their favorite book in childhood, it made want to see New Blue Shoes again. I just read it again for the first time in something like 30 years, and it still makes me smile. Rebecca’s mom takes her to the store for new shoes and Rebecca will only take shoes that are blue: “I want nice shoes. I want new blue, nice blue, nice new blue shoes!”
It’s such a simple story and the images, as you can see from the cover, are simple and expressive, so why did it grab me so strongly that 30 years later, I still remember it? Truth is, I have no idea. Maybe I just wanted new blue shoes too. Rebecca gets her shoes just like I did but then has doubts: “Maybe my feet will look silly in blue shoes.” Her mother teases her and convinces her to try them on in the house and next thing you know, Rebecca is loving her shoes again. Happy ending.
The answers to why I really loved this book don’t matter; what matters is that this book stayed with me long enough that when I started reading it again tonight, the words and pictures were as familiar as if I’d only read and seen them a few years ago, not 30. And that, to me, is a sign of a really great book.