Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Spotlight on #OwnVoices: It's Shoe Time! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!)

Today we are posting a review from guest blogger Eric Carpenter. Eric is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary in Atlanta, GA. Thank you, Eric!

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!: It’s Shoe Time! By Bryan Collier. Disney-Hyperion, 2017. 64 pages. ISBN 9781484726471. Click here to purchase. (Pub Date: November 7)

At first glance the reader might assume that Bryan Collier's It's Shoe Time! is a typical entry into the “Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!” series from Mo Willems. The cover, with its three pairs of wide-eyed and grinning shoes, certainly sets us up for an over-the-top story of walking, talking footwear. However, unlike the previous three entries in the “Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!” series (or the twenty-five original books featuring the two pals), It's Shoe Time! includes human characters. Specifically a Black girl and her father, painted in Collier’s recognizable watercolor and collage technique.  

Collier’s simple and heartwarming story leaves plenty of space for visual gags and creative puns from the aforementioned footwear. Preparing for her special “Daddy and Me Day,” a young girl decides to wear two different shoes – much to the alarm of the rest of her footwear. The remaining pair (an anxious left flip-flop and gloomy right boot) attempt to save the girl from her footwear faux pas. Full of creative puns and visual gags, young readers will enjoy picking up on the personalities of all the shoes even if some of the right/left wordplay doesn’t always garner a laugh.

Image from edelweiss

Like many of Willems’ “Elephant & Piggie” stories, Collier’s entry into the series follows a similar construction – energetic crisis leading into a heartwarming resolution. Also following Willems’ example, here text is confined to character-specific, color-coded word balloons, allowing readers to understand that the words in purple belong to the girl even when she is off the page. These familiar features paired with Collier’s expressive paintings prove to be a winning combination for this excellent early reader.
Reviewed by Eric Carpenter. 

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