Sara Varon's New Shoes: a kids' buddy story about the jungles of Guyana and redemption
Sara Varon is co-creator, with Cecil Castellucci, of Odd Duck, the 2013 outstanding kids' picture book, and her latest solo venture, New Shoes is a brilliant reprisal of the themes from Odd Duck: camaraderie among eccentric animals, charming small-town life, fascinating technical details, humor, and beautiful, engaging illustrations.
Francis the donkey has realized his lifelong dream of becoming the shoemaker in his little Guyanese town. His animal friends are key to his creations: Nigel the squirrel monkey harvests tiger-grass, the neighborhood chickens weave it into strong cloth, and Francis crafts it into the most beautiful shoes in the nation, embroidered with beautiful illustrations and decorations.
Francis's fame spreads, and Miss Manatee, the nation's beloved queen of calypso, sends her manager to commission a special pair of shoes. Overjoyed, Francis goes to find Nigel and procure his tiger-grass, but Nigel is nowhere to be found. Francis and Rhoda the parrot set off for the jungle to find Nigel, equipped with books about the animals of Guyana's jungles, so Francis will be able to inform himself about the new friends he makes (and stay away from predators).
Francis and Rhoda's journey acquaints them with many wonderful creatures and a virtual larder of wild fruits and vegetables to snack on, each beautifully rendered and delightfully imbued with character. When they finally discover Nigel, they learn a dark secret about their dear old friend.
Varon's deceptively simple kids' book is simultaneously a primer on biology, a redemption tale, a road-trip story, a buddy story, and a celebration of crafting and creative problem-solving. It is imbued with so much charm and sweetness that it will capture young readers (and their grownups) from the first page -- it's destined to be a beloved favorite for any of the young people in your life you give it to.
New Shoes [Sara Varon/Firstsecond]
Chicago! I'm at C2E2 this weekend with my new book RADICALIZED! Next up: San Francisco, Portland/Ft Vancouver, Seattle & Anaheim!
Last night's book tour event in Toronto was a smashing success! Thanks to everyone who came! I just checked in for my flight to Chicago for a weekend's worth of appearances at C2E2, and then on Monday I'll be at Berkeley Arts & Letters at 7:30PM with Richard Kadrey, then The Revolutionary Reads series at […]
Toronto! I'm at the Metro Reference Library tonight at 7PM with my new book RADICALIZED! Next up: Chicago, San Francisco, Portland/Ft Vancouver...
We had a hell of an event last night at The Strand in NYC, and I'm about to head to the airport for my flight to Toronto for tonight's event at the Metro Reference Library, hosted by the Globe & Mail's Barry Hertz; then it's Chicago's C2E2 festival and then to Berkeley for an event […]
NYC! I'm coming to The Strand tonight at 7PM with my new book RADICALIZED! Next up: Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco...
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