Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Steppin' Up! Mama's Work Shoes by Caron Levis

Perry knew all of Mama's shoes.

Mama has fuzzy swushy shoes for around the house, and zippy shoes for playing at the park. She has flip-flops for sunny beach days and yellow stump-stump boots for rainy days.

But one day Mama comes home with new shoes--tall shoes that click and clack across the floor.
"Today, we are starting a new routine." said Mama.

Perry is not happy. "New routine" means click-clack shoes for Mama, two lunch bags, one for each of them, and being dropped off at their friend Nan's house while Mama goes to a place called Work.

Perry likes Nan, but she likes it more when Mama is there, too. Mama reminds her that she'll be back, and they can say what they always say at Nan's door.

Cookoo Clock!

But the day at Nan's without Mama is not much fun. Mama finally comes and they walk back to their house, Mama's shoes click-clacking all the way. Despite Mama's reminder that her work shoes are also her coming-back shoes, that night Perry decides the shoes are the problem. She hides the click-clack shoes, and just to make sure, she hides ALL of Mama's shoes, too.

But Mama finds her work shoes and wears them again, as Perry sadly drags her feet on the way to Nan's again. But this time, she manages to have some fun with Nan. They dance the shimmy, and they are giggling over a tea party when Perry hears a KNOCK KNOCK! at the door. And that night Mama puts on her shushy shoes and they do everything they like together, including wearing no-shoes feet that go...

Caron Levis' brand-new Mama's Work Shoes (Abrams Books, 2019) is a bit of bibliotherapy for older toddlers and preschoolers experiencing their first day-long separation from their mothers, a time that creates some angst in child--and mother--and author Levis' story softens the anxiety without ignoring the very real sadness that such separation engenders. Levis' narration doesn't skip too lightly over the distress, while keeping the reassuring message and the secondary theme that each child has her or his part to play in their family's well-being. Artist Vanessa Brantley-Newton's sensitive but humorous illustrations support the leitmotif gently and sweetly. "Charming... dynamic, and colorful," says Kirkus.

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