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Book Review: Baby Shoes, by Dashka Slater/illus. by Hiroe Nakata (Bloomsbury, 2006)

baby shoesRecommended for ages 2-5

A toddler’s new white shoes with a blue stripe turn into multicolored shoes after an eventful day in the park with his mother.

Mama buys Baby gets a new pair of white shoes with a blue stripe and then head to the park, where Baby proceeds to get those new white shoes covered in chalk, grass, plum juice, and yellow paint as he barrels through his day. With every new “decoration” on his shoes, Baby and Mama exchange an “Uh-oh!” and an “Oh, no!”, but those shoes just go, go, go! The repetitive, rhyming text invites young audiences to jump in and participate, and the watercolor illustrations provide inviting images the draw readers into Baby and Mama’s eventful day. There is a great deal of action in the book, with dotted lines tracing Baby’s path and Mama in a perpetual runner’s crouch, hands extended, to catch the active Baby. The endpapers invite the reader into the story, showing Baby’s shoes in a variety of situations that arise in the book: getting caught in the path of a red chalk line, running through grass, and negotiating a yellow line of paint. The plain black font is bold enough to stand out from its sedate but colorful background, and curves around the text to continue the feeling of action.

This is a great story to bring into a lapsit read-aloud, especially as the book is targeted at active toddlers and young preschoolers. The repetitive text engages young listeners and offers them the opportunity to chime in with Mama, Baby, or both as baby collects a new color on his shoes. Rhymes and fingerplays will get the active toddlers playing and moving. A Raffi CD would add enjoyable music, allowing a dance time to bring a successful storytime to a close.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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