Maribeth Boelts is a former preschool teacher who has written
numerous books for children. She lives in Iowa with her husband and
Noah Z. Jones is the illustrator of NOT NORMAN: A GOLDFISH STORY, THE MONSTER IN THE BACKPACK, and WELCOME TO THE BED AND BISCUIT. He lives in Maine.
K-Gr 3-Maribeth Boelts's award-winning picture book (Candlewick, 2007) offers a kid's-eye view of shoe envy as well as a message about generosity. A giant billboard featuring black high-top sneakers with white stripes looms above the street and the power of persuasive advertising affects all the children in an inner city school. Everyone wants to own a pair, including Jeremy. But his Grandma says, "There's no room for want around here, just need." Jeremy's shoes rip during a kickball game, and he must wear cast-off shoes provided by the school counselor. His classmates' jeers and laughter are painful. Jeremy visits a thrift shop and finds a discounted pair of "those" sneakers, and buys them even though they are a size too small. When they fail to stretch and his feet hurt, he gives them to his friend. While he doesn't get what he wants, he gets what he needs-a friend. Noah Z. Jones's pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations are scanned iconographically. Boelts narrates in a clear voice and hip music by Eric Miller complements the text. While the author's narration is fine, an African-American male might have been more effective in voicing Jeremy. In a Conversation with the Author, Boelts discusses her purpose in writing the book. A poignant look at the themes of economic hardship, fitting in, the power of advertising, and friendship.-Lonna Pierce, MacArthur Elementary School, Binghamton, NY Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Boelts blends themes of teasing, embarrassment and disappointment
with kindness and generosity in a realistic interracial school
Maribeth Boelts has a good eye for how the shoes bestow value at school and how Jeremy feels wearing an uncool pair. Much to discuss, especially in the ending.
Whether children are on the shoe-owning or the shoe-envying side of the economic line, they can sympathize with Jeremy and rejoice in the way he eventually resolves his problem with his too-small shoes.
-The Horn Book
Jones' autumn-toned illustrations wonderfully complement Boelts' sweet-natured main characters and non-didactic life lesson.
A wonderful story of sharing, this important book conveys what is most important in life.
-Kendal Rautzhan's "Books to Borrow, Books to Buy" column
A touching story about how a life short on money can be big on love, good values, and friendship.
Maribeth Boelts introduces young readers to [a] complex issue with kindness and finesse.
-Grand Rapids Press
In this witty, wise picture book Boelts presents a kids-eye view of a consumer fad that rages through school at gale force.
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
A poignant, thought-provoking book.
-School Library Journal
A contemporary urban story that shows the spirit of sharing with economy of language and superior craftsmanship.
-Contra Costa Times
Peer pressure, overwhelming desire, and the acceptance of what is really needed are played out in this story that is duplicated in schools around the country.
-Library Media Connection