Author: Varon, Sara
Francis the donkey is the best shoemaker in the village. He uses only the finest materials: coconut wood for the soles, goat's wool for the insoles, and wild tiger grass for the uppers. After he receives an order for new shoes from Miss Manatee, shoemaker Francis the donkey must journey through the jungle to find the materials he needs, meeting the variety of animals that live near him, including a capybara, jaguar, and three-toed sloth.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: .5 Quiz: 196940
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 76263
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/18)
School Library Journal (00/02/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/18)
The Hornbook (00/07/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 Gr 1–4—Francis the donkey loves to make shoes for his animal friends and neighbors, but he doesn't do it alone. The goats down the road provide wool, Nigel the squirrel monkey collects the grass that is woven into fabric, and the chickens from downstairs weave it. When Francis is approached to make new shoes for the famous singer Miss Manatee, he is over the moon until he realizes Nigel has yet to return from a supply trip. Francis embarks on his first journey into the formidable jungle to find Nigel and the grass he needs to make an unforgettable pair of shoes for his favorite entertainer. With its seamless intermingling of earth tones and lush tropical colors, and its smooth, heavy linework, this graphic novel strongly evokes picture books owing to its numerous full-page bleeds and frequent use of nonpaneled pages. The text is large and the vocabulary mostly simple. However, some pages become overcrowded as Varon squeezes in related facts. Dialogue contains elevated, undefined vocabulary such as provincial and embellishment. Realistic images of jungle animals are worked into the pages via Francis's guidebook, and the story acts as something of a guidebook itself. Plants and animals are labeled throughout, together with local naming conventions when applicable (e.g., jaguars are called "tigers" in Guyana). The spare back matter includes reference photos that inspired the story's imagery. VERDICT This simple yet fun tale will help newly independent readers make the transition to full-blown graphic novels, stoke curiosity about the jungle ecosystem, and teach about teamwork, respect, and kindness.—Alea Perez, Westmont Public Library, IL - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2018 In the guise of a tale about a hard-working, shoe-making donkey, Francis, who needs to find materials to make a pair of shoes for his favorite singer, Varon’s latest delivers a rich depiction of a jungle habitat in Guyana. Readers learn about different plants and fruits that grow there as well as animals like the capybara and the sloth, and since the details are so well integrated into the story, young readers might not even realize how educational it really is. It’s all in the small details, such as understated labeling of new characters and lifelike depictions in the pages of Francis’ “guidebook” to the jungle and its inhabitants. Varon’s peanut-shaped, doodle-like figures are full of charm, and the thick-outlined artwork is filled in with saturated, cheerful colors. At the back, readers will find some of the real-life images that inspired scenery in the story. Perfect for fans of Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks’ Primates (2013) and Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci’s Little Tails in the Jungle (2016). - Copyright 2018 Booklist.