________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 14. . . .December 4, 2015


The Elves and the Trendy Shoes. (Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists).

Evelyn Foster. Illustrated by Claudia Venturini.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1958-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1932-8 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-7696-7 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7688-2 (html).

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Myra Junyk.

*** /4


The elves were sad. They were famous shoemakers, but their shoes had gone out of style in Fairytale Land.


The latest addition to the “Tadpoles Fairytale Twists” series, The Elves and the Trendy Shoes gives an amusing twist to the traditional fairy tale, The Elves and the Shoemaker. This time, the elves are the shoemakers in distress in Fairytale Land. Their shoes are not selling because they are not trendy enough for their customers, such as Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and the Big Bad Wolf.

     The elves go to sleep, but the next day they are shocked to see dozens of pairs of “new, trendy shoes” in their shop. The prince and princess are thrilled and purchase them for the royal ball. All day long, the elves sell these new and trendy shoes. But who made them? One night, they discover that an elderly shoemaker is giving them his trendy shoes because humans are bored with them! The elves give him their fairytale shoes to sell back in the real world, and he continues to provide trendy shoes for them to sell in Fairytale Land.

     The original fairytale by the Brothers Grimm is about a shoemaker who is very poor and can no longer afford to keep his shop until elves intervene to save his business. In The Elves and the Trendy Shoes, readers will notice that the elves have become the desperate shoemakers, and the shoemaker is the one who saves them. Their customers are characters in famous fairytales.

     The books in the “Tadpoles Fairytale Twists” series are designed for early fluent readers. These series books can also be used as read-alouds or shared reading experiences with younger readers. The brightly coloured illustrations provide a good backdrop to an amusing story which will interest young readers. Some of these readers may not be familiar with all the fairytale characters appearing in this story. As a result, they will not only learn about the original story, The Elves and the Shoemaker, but they will also learn about Cinderella, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood.

     There are also some interesting text features in this book. At the end of the book, there are two puzzles for readers to solve, and teachers or caregivers are given several prompts to enrich student reading. The Elves and the Trendy Shoes provides many topics to discuss with young readers, such as: fairytales, compassion, elves, shoemaking, business, and trends.


Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, lives in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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