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SHOE MAGIC by Nikki Grimes


by Nikki Grimes & illustrated by Terry Widener

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-531-30286-5
Publisher: Orchard

Urging readers to understand that “What you do, / Where you go, / Who you grow / Up to be / Depends on / The steps you take,” these poems profile children trying on shoes for the future.

Tap shoes for Marc; cleats for Clarice; hiking boots; toe shoes; a nurse’s shoes like Dad’s for Kyle; sturdy work boots, and more, always making certain to avoid gender stereotypes. Grimes weaves subtle messages of power through her bright, breezy language—“Still, his boots / Hold him steady / Once he’s ready / To fix / The world.” Or, in the case of African-American “Talisha’s Toe Shoes”: “Someday I’ll dance / The Nutcracker / (My dream too long deferred). / My arabesque / Will be so fine / They’ll redefine the word.” The sunny tone is matched in Widener’s acrylics with round-headed, rubber-limbed children of all ethnicities wearing oversized footgear, exuberantly dancing, skiing, skating, swimming, or (it’s not all about choosing a career) playing.

Dreamers and doers both will find inspiration here.

(Picture book/poetry. 7-9)