Not so many weeks ago, Sarah and I had a morning to ourselves and we spent it browsing the shelves of our favorite library. She worked her way through a stack of Henry & Mudge books while I, being at the stage of pregnancy where sitting on the floor is a commitment (and not one to be undertaken lightly), sat on the floor and thumbed through whatever books I could reach without getting up.
And so I happened upon The Orange Shoes. It is my opinion that discovering a book without a friend’s recommendation, without any prior knowledge of author or illustrator, is a joy and one that rarely bears such fruit as this find did.
I simply couldn’t pull myself away from the story of Delly Porter and the Shoebox Social. Snobby Prudy Winfield, Adella’s resourceful mother (a woman who knows where to look) and her wonderful father (a man who knows what to value) lived as I read, and when I did finally emerge from the story, I found Sarah’s arms around my neck, her nose resting on my shoulder as she studied the watercolor illustrations with me.
We have read the book daily since then. Lydia fell in love with it; Mitch did, too. Sarah grabs it first thing in the morning and carries it to me on the couch, asking, “Can we read this one, peez?” Even at seven in the morning, it’s hard to say no, so we’ve spent many a morning curled up together, reading about Delly and the orange shoes.
I don’t know if this author is a Christian or not, but I saw elements of the Gospel throughout The Orange Shoes (I won’t tell you where, for fear of ruining the surprise). The depth of the story combined with Doris Ettinger’s striking illustrations make this a book that gracefully bears rereading—a fortunate fact, given the rate at which it’s requested at our house.
The Orange Shoes
Trina Hakes Noble, Doris Ettinger (2007)