Today is Annalise’s 4th birthday. But the book I want to share with you today is mine! When I bought this one, I couldn’t even pretend it was for one of the kids. Sometimes I do that, you know, buy a book that I just love and tell myself that really, it is just right for this particular child of mine because of this developmental reason or because the theme is so perfect for them.
This book, “The Red Shoes” I bought for me. Well, the girl in the story is called Karen. And I do own a beautiful pair of red peep-toes with heels so high that I can only wear them in a restaurant when I sit down for most of the evening!
Back to the book. This is a new version of the Hans Christian Anderson story, written in 1845. The original is a little dark, but this one written by Gloria Fowler is more positive. After the death of her mother, Karen wears the red handmade shoes her mother lovingly sewed for her. A spoilt princess demands Karen’s shoes but Karen is unable to take them off, and her feet will be cut off by an executioner unless she hands them over in three days. Karen must use her “own imagination, creativity, and hard work” to overcome this obstacle.
Well, that was the line for me. I repeat it to myself often these days, as I balance baking a ballerina birthday cake with editing projects, sewing a small pair of ballet shoes with getting up 85 times in the middle of the night to a sick child, playing grade one maths games while making dentist appointments.
The beautiful pen and ink illustrations are by Sun Young Yoo. It’s really refreshing to look at a book that uses only black and white. The style is so distinctive, and the pictures remain in my mind, long after the book is closed. The shoe pictures are so detailed - such a different way of depicting shoes to Sujean Rim but equally gorgeous.
I sewed a pair of “ballet shoes” for Annalise’s birthday, using the pattern for Mary Jane slippers in Sandi Henderson’s book, “Sewing Bits and Pieces.” The pattern was really easy to follow, and there are lots of other great ideas, which I’m sure I’ll eventually make. The Fabric-Covered Journal looked lovely, as does the Growing Tree Wall Hanging, and there’s also a fabulous patchwork skirt I’d love to make for Annalise.
My red shoes might be too uncomfortable to wear for more than a couple of hours but Annalise wore her ballet shoes with a big smile all day.