Title: Those Shoes
Author: Maribeth Boelts
Illustrator: Noah Z. Jones
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.1
Concepts: wants and needs, scarcity
Review: Just about every boy at school seemed to be wearing those black high-tops with two white stripes, and Jeremy wanted a pair also. Unfortunately Grandma remained firm about only paying for needs, not wants, and Jeremy needed a new pair of winter boots. To add insult to injury, when one of Jeremy’s shoes fell apart at school, the only replacement available from the guidance counselor’s supply box was a pair of children’s Velcro sneakers with a cartoon animal on the side. Even Jeremy’s idea of buying his dream high-tops at a local thrift shop backfired when the one pair in stock fit so poorly that they hurt his feet. Little did Jeremy realize that those thrift-store high-tops held the key to a deeper understanding of generosity and friendship.
This clever book contains a powerful lesson about differentiating between wants and needs in the face of tight budget constraints. At the same time, the subtle text and expressive illustrations communicate clearly a child’s desire to conform. At a time when expensive shoes have become a high-status consumption good, Those Shoes comes out a winner for telling an appealing story to which readers across age groups can relate.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children