Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shoe Baby

Shoe Baby
written by Joyce Dunbar
illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Suggested age: 2-5 years

A baby heads out on a magical journey in a gorgeous red shoe. He is always courteous and says, "How do you do". He invites the Queen to tea who brings the King too. And this gracious baby says to them with a bow, "How do you do". Until at last he meets a giant with only one shoe, and a giantess crying boo-hoo-hoo, when the baby pops right out of his shoe and says, "Peekaboo! Hi papa, Hi mama, how do you do?"

This charming book is written by Joyce Dunbar and illustrated by her talented daughter, Polly. Fly Away Katie was such a hit with Ana that I decided to get another book by Polly Dunbar. I love her illustrations just as much as Ana seems to.

The brilliant and vibrant colors on the cover - a gorgeous red shoe set against a glowing deep blue - along with the suggestion of motion just jumped out at me and I had to give it a try.

The rhymes are easy and flow very smoothly throughout the book.
At long last this baby slept in that shoe
So dozy, so cozy, so tickety-boo.

Ana is tickled pink about the "tickety-boo" that every night since I borrowed the book she has insisted this be the book I read to her last before I turn the light off and tuck her in. And, she loves it when I adapt it to say At long last little Ana curled up her toe, So dozy, so cozy, so.... and I pause so she can gleefully chirp tickety-boo.

This book is a delight to read aloud. It is cute and simple, and I have a feeling it appeals very much to toddlers' sense of adventure and imagination - in something as simple as a shoe, the baby manages to go everywhere.

While the illustrations might seem too busy at times, they match the words on the page close enough that 2+ year olds can easily follow along and discover the happenings on the page.

If you are looking for a profound story or a message, this is not the book. But, if you want to read a cheery little book and leave your 2- 3-year olds in a cozy warm imaginative adventure when you tuck them in for the night, this book fits the bill.

The first few pages, at first read, seemed to just go on in a prosaic and predictable manner, where I kept telling myself, oh, so what, a baby just goes around in a shoe, Big Deal... but, the last few pages made it interesting for me: to discover that the baby was sitting in his daddy's shoe all along adventuring, while Mommy and Daddy look for him everywhere, until they finally find him.

Somehow, without having to explain it all, this message got conveyed through the illustrations and words to Ana. And I think, therein lies the success of this book.

As an added bonus, the wide array of colorful shoes Polly illustrates are a big hit, probably because Ana is a little girl. And since she can tell the difference between tall boots and short boots and sandal shoes and sneaker shoes, this book keeps her busy just gazing at the various colorful shoes Polly presents... Thanks to Fly Away Katie, she has been asking me for blue shoes, and now she seems to have her heart set on lime green shoes... so, if your wee little baby girl has a bit of a shoe obsession, consider yourself warned :)

Plus, the first and last page has a sprinkling of patchwork hearts that doubles as a counting exercise with Ana. I simply ask her to count and let me know how many hearts there are, and for some reason it always ends up being twelve! [Of course, that's as high as she can go now...]

And, apparently, there have been puppet shows based on this book, and it could possibly be a favorite with the new generation of kids. Judging by Ana's response to this book, I agree :)


Praba Ram said...

Sheela -

What a fun title!

"Appeal to toddler's sense of adventure" makes lot of sense! Love the silliness aspect - boo-tickety! :-)

I think it will definitely click with my toddler given that my 15 month old recently discovered that shoes go on your feet..these days she is constantly found hiding near the shoes closet while playing "kaanume", and would drag along a few of our shoes to show everyone what she has found...! I love the shoe show and tell that toddlers put forth - so very entertaining!

can't wait to get my hands on the shoe baby book.. :-)

Tharini said...

cute cute cute! Polly Dunbar does it again! And I loved that there are so many facets to this book.

I'm so thrilled to hear that Ana liked Flyaway Katie soo much.

Meera Sriram said...

Oh, this would be a treat to my shoe-philic daughter!

We have not had a Polly Dunbar experience yet. But motivation is galore right now.

Thanks Sheela!

Praba Ram said...

The shoe baby story reminds me of a poem by Shel Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends -

Ickle me, Pickle me, Tickle me too.. - link to the poem

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