Author: Boelts, Maribeth
Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone seems to have, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and buys them even though they are the wrong size.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.10
Points: .5 Quiz: 119514
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 49215
Common Core Standards
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Craft & Structure
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 2.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 2 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 2.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (09/15/07)
School Library Journal (00/12/07)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (12/07)
The Hornbook (11/07)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2007 Money and stuff. For all but the most ascetic among us, they are never far from mind, and the inner imps and angels that respectively urge “Acquisition!” and “Restraint!” whisper also into the ears of the very young. In this witty, wise picture book Boelts presents a kid’s-eye view of a consumer fad that rages through school at gale force and the students who are left twisting in the wind. A huge, fiery orange billboard featuring an expensively shod basketball star screams its message, “Buy These Shoes,” and the kids in Jeremy’s school enthusiastically respond. As each day goes by, another student turns up in the coveted kicks (“Black high-tops. Two white stripes”), and soon only Jeremy and Antonio are mired in sartorial embarrassment. Grandma is unmoved by Jeremy’s gimme crusade (“There’s no room for ‘want’ around here—just need”), and she points out that new snow boots fall into the need category this season. But Jeremy does, in fact, need new shoes: his old sneaks fall apart on the playground and Mr. Alfrey, the counselor, supplies him with a temporary pair from a box of castoffs. The abject dorkiness of these blue, velcroed, cartoon-emblazoned sneakers drives Jeremy to desperation, and even Grandma recognizes the need to take him shopping. The price tag on the striped high-tops sends them both into sticker shock, but they track down a pair in a resale shop, and Jeremy plunks down his own money for them despite the fact that they’re way too small. He can’t take the pain, though, and soon he’s back again to wearing the despised “Mr. Alfrey shoes.” When it finally dawns on Jeremy that classmate Antonio’staped-together shoes are even more humiliating than his own—and that Antonio’s feet are smaller—he generously gives Antonio the high-tops. Then a turn in the weather finally puts an end to the whole footwear drama, as a snowfall sends all the kids scrambling for their boots, and Jeremy is right in style after all. Boelts knows a thing or two about grade-school sumptuary laws, and her deft observations of show-off technique are right on the mark. Brandon T. boasts that he can now outrun Jeremy, and kids who have succumbed to shoe seduction are painfully litanized: “Antonio and I count how many times Nate goes to the bathroom—seven times in one day, just so he can walk up and down the hall real slow.” Boelts also knows a thing or two about grandmothers: Jeremy’s grandma, who appears to be his guardian, is clearly trying to instill in him some fiscal responsibility, and she mutters the de rigueur “How kind of Mr. Alfrey” when Jeremy comes home in the blue shoes that sport an animal “from a cartoon I don’t think any kid ever watched.” But she also knows there’s a limit to how much chagrin a kid can suffer, and her “little bit of money set aside” will never be directed to anything other than her grandson’s comfort. Jones mixed-media, digitally assembled pictures cleverly capture how thoroughly the shoe craze permeates every aspect of Jeremy’s life. The ad that fires desire covers a brick wall, dwarfing posters for race cars and jugglers and jazz, dwarfing Jeremy himself, sprawling across the double-page spread and bleeding off the edges of the recto. Jeremy incorporates Those Shoes into his yearning doodles, wherein they warm the tootsies of monsters and superheroes and feature in ethereal settings. Those Shoes creep into his homework, and even his spelling list seems to mock him: South America, Hawaii, Ohio, England, San Francisco. It is also illustration rather than text that establishes a neutral economic context in which the tale plays out. The urban streets and school are free equally of glitter and of grime; children of all ethnic backgrounds are clad in the expected array of pants and caps and shirts and hoodies, allowing viewers to focus on that single, salient variable, Those Shoes. Jeremy (African American) resides in a modest, tidy apartment that hints of creature comforts—his dinosaur collection, his adequately stocked closet, Grandma’s closely crammed bookcase. Even Antonio (Caucasian), the child who truly is needy, is only conspicuous in his taped sneakers. By refusing to connect craving to either income or ethnicity, Boelts and Jones create a work with broad appeal. Jonesin’ can and does smite everyone, and any kid who’s been the last one on the block to procure the latest must-have—whatever its monetary value— will feel the sting of Jeremy’s predicament. Fortunately, there’s also comfort here in the gentle message that fads fade, as well as a cautionary observation that a compelling ad, coupled with an infusion of peer pressure, can turn the consumer into the consumed. (See p. 167 for publication information.) - Copyright 2007 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2007 K-Gr 3-Jeremy desperately wants a pair of advertised sneakers. "I have dreams about those shoes. Black high-tops. Two white stripes." In fact, some of his classmates already own them. However, money is tight, and his grandmother reminds him that there is a difference between what he wants and what he needs (he needs winter boots). He buys with his own money a used pair of the cool sneakers even though they are too small, saying "sometimes shoes stretch," but ends up with bandage-covered feet. This story exposes the value many children place on wearing the same cool clothing as or fitting in with the in-crowd; however, a message of generosity shines through when Jeremy gives his prized sneakers to a friend in need who has smaller feet. Illustrations done in pencil, ink, and watercolors effectively depict the grays and browns of the wintertime inner-city setting, the institutional greens and blues of the school, and the warm hues of this African-American home. The characters' faces, drawn with thin lines, wide-set eyes, and a variety of skin tones, are expressive. A poignant, thought-provoking book.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2007 Boelts tackles both the appeal of high-tops and the difficulty of doing the right thing in a story narrated by African American Jeremy. In the opening pages, Jeremy lies on the floor of his apartment, drawing while his grandmother reads. She answers his request for “those shoes” with, “There’s no room for ‘want’ around here—just ‘need.’ And what you need are new boots for winter.” Jeremy notes how many classmates are wearing the black shoes with white stripes. He is humiliated when one of his own shoes comes apart during recess, and the well-meaning guidance counselor gives him a bright-blue pair of shoes decorated with uncool superheroes. Jeremy wants high-tops so much that he settles for a thrift-shop pair that are really too small. After some delay, he gives in to his kinder impulses and passes them on to a smaller friend. Ultimately, he gets his reward—snow—and makes great use of his new winter boots. Jones’ autumn-toned illustrations wonderfully complement Boelts’ sweet-natured main characters and nondidactic life lesson. - Copyright 2007 Booklist.