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Pickle Me This

August 12, 2011

Our Best Book from this week's library haul: A Flock of Shoes by Sarah Tsaing

This week’s best book from the library was A Flock of Shoes by Sarah Tsaing, illustrated by Qin Leng. It’s the story of a little girl called Abby whose beloved summer sandals fly south in the fall, and send her postcards from tropical islands (“We miss you to the bottom of our soles”). While the shoes are away, she falls in love with a pair of boots that navigate the snow and ice so well, but when spring finally comes, the boots are compelled to jump aboard a northbound train (postcard: “Early nights and gorgeous lights, but we still miss the warm wiggle of your toes.” [Tsaing is also a poet, and it shows].) But the sandals fly back again, fattened up from their time abroad, and they’re big enough to fit Abby’s growing feet.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the book because the story doesn’t completely make sense, and I didn’t understand what the story was a metaphor for, and what the message was. And then I understand that there really wasn’t one, actually, and that this is an old fashioned fairy tale whose message is in its lyricism and magic. It’s immediately appealing to the shoe-mad, which most little girls I know are, and Harriet has asked me to read it to her over and over again.

4 thoughts on “Our Best Book from this week's library haul: A Flock of Shoes by Sarah Tsaing”

  1. steph says:

    I read this book one day while I was shelving the kids’ picture books and I loved it! In fact, I’ve read it more than once and have enjoyed recommending it. The style of the illustrations does well with the tone, yes?

  2. patricia says:

    I really loved this story, especially because there wasn’t an apparent ‘message’. Those have always been my favourite kinds of picture books.

  3. Julia says:

    wow. This book sounds like it’s right up my alley! I always seem to be craving a pair of shoes…

  4. Clelia says:

    I’m so glad this book is the subject of one of your ‘best of the library haul’ posts (such an excellent series). I adore the story of Abby and her shoes (especially the postcards), and so does my two-year-old daughter. We read it several times a week.

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