Sarah Tsiang (author), Qin Leng (illustrator); A FLOCK OF SHOES; Annick Press (Children's Fiction) $8.95 ISBN: 9781554512485
Byline: Mary Popham
A small number of pages can occasionally pack a huge idea. So it is with Ontario natives Sarah Tsiang, who teaches college in Kingston, and Qin Leng, an award-winning animator and illustrator in Toronto, whose Flock of Shoes begins with an understanding of a child's natural reluctance to part with beloved possessions. Just as the infant fears to lose sight of his mother and a toddler finds it traumatic to give up a bottle or pacifier, Abby does not want to lose her treasured sandals. "They were pink and brown with lime-green trim. They made small heart tracks in the sand and followed her all around the beach."
Abby gives her sandals credit for a wonderful summer, and at the beginning of fall she becomes inconsolable when her mother tries to take them from her. "Your feet will be too cold! Your sandals are getting worn! You're starting to outgrow those shoes!" Abby disregards her mother's pleadings as nonsense. Yet time, as it sometimes will, provides a path to acceptance of inevitability. Abby's imagination takes over: she swings higher and higher on the park swing, and her shoes flip right off her feet; like birds, her sandals soar to the sky and join a group of other...