One of my favorite moments in reviewing children’s books comes when I am a decent way into the story. I’ve been reading along, and I hit ‘that page.’ That page that, out of the blue, makes you feel something strongly enough it elicits some kind physical reaction before you can register it, that hits a deep chord, and changes your perception on the story from that point on.
I think of it kind of like being slammed in the face with a door. You knock on the door, you expect it to open, but you are taken it aback when it swings open in a way you didn’t predict. Sure you knew doors opened and closed, but it still hits hard and makes you pause (or flat out fall down.)
It’s these door-in-the-face type of moments (I know it doesn’t sound beautiful, but it’s the best way I can describe the emotion without writing a sonnet) that for me often separate the “good” books from the “not-so-good” or “great.”
Boot & Shoe-What Is It About?
If you didn’t guess by the intro, Boot & Shoe had ‘that page’ in it. I knew from the second I picked it up and saw two adorable, shaggy, little terrier dogs on the cover that it would be pleasant, but I wasn’t sure how much it would actually win me over-aside from the charming illustrations.
The story is about two little dogs-Boot & Shoe-who were born in the same litter. They live in the same house, and they do all of the same things-except when it comes to which porch they prefer. Boot is a back porch kind of dog, Shoe is a front porch kind of dog-and that suits them fine.
One day, a squirrel gets to making mischief in their yard, and around and around the house they go, chasing it willy nilly. When ‘the squirrel becomes bored and leaves’ (obviously the squirrel was the one playing games) Boot finds himself on the front porch, Shoe finds himself on the back porch…but neither of them can find the other.
Marla Frazee, who is also the author/illustrator of “Stars” has a lovely style. I thought “Stars” was done quite well, but I have to say Boot & Shoe has my favorite illustrations. The dogs are just too dang cute. I can’t help it. I want them!
Adorable dogs aside, the text is written in a friendly, kid-like scrawl that is very inviting to readers, and the drawings go from almost full page, to being placed selectively in relation to the text-a refreshing change from your typical words-on-the-bottom-of-the-page layout.
There are also often multiple illustrations per page, showing both Boot & Shoe’s daily activities and adventures. All the more to enjoy, in my opinion!
Well, if you couldn’t tell, I quite enjoyed it. I was thrilled to stumble upon ‘that page’ (I won’t say exactly what happened, because it’s the surprise that makes the moment.) It doesn’t matter what the feeling is-happy, sad, exciting, whatever. Even if you don’t like a book, if it made you really feel something, it accomplished something.
Boot & Shoe is a pleasure just to look at, and the story is a delight-I would certainly recommend it.
It doesn’t need to be a happy feeling, or a sad one, or anything in particular. That unexpected force is always a good thing. Even if you don’t like the book-if it made you really feel something, it accomplished something.