________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 4. . . September 29, 2017


If You Could Wear My Sneakers. 20th Anniversary Ed.

Sheree Fitch. Art by Darcia Labrosse.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 1997/2017.
32 pp., hardcover & html, $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77108-469-7 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77108-478-9 (html).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Kay Weisman.

***½ /4


Dr. P. Uffin
I’ve a yearning
That is burning
A desire for
Higher learning
I would like
To go to college
To improve upon
My knowledge
I’ve heard words
Are for the birds
I have looked
In many books
(I know
I can’t get by
If I’m depending
on my looks)
Intellectual stimulation!
Cerebellum circulation!
Please accept
My registration
I’ll be the first
Of my relations
To get my education
(I have heard
there is no fee,
that I get
to go for free)
You won’t be laughin’
At this puffin
Who now knows that
She knows nothin’
When I’ve learned
My ABC’s
What an abecedarian
Puffin I’ll be
Then I’ll get
My PhD
In puffin
Prose and


Convention on the Rights of the Child is reprinted in this 20th anniversary edition. The poems exhibit Fitch’s signature style—full of nonsense, vivid language, and fun—and, at the same time, detail issues of importance for children around the world.

     Children will be able to identify the rights described in many of these verses. “The Stinky Truth” discusses the right to obtain and share information and to express opinions; “Secrets” addresses the right to privacy; and “Dr. P. Uffin” (quoted above) explains that children have a right to education, including a free primary education. A few, such as “Shine, Shine, Shine,” are less obvious. “One little firefly / in a jar / lovely, lonely / fallen star / One little firefly / flying free / shining star / in a galaxy,” for example, seems to have little to do with children having the right to fair treatment under the law.

     Labrosse’s lively artwork (which appears to be pen and ink with watercolour) uses mainly animals to depict Fitch’s verses. The titular sneaker wearers are a monkey and an ape; “The Stinky Truth” is set in a barnyard; and “Secrets” depicts butterflies and caterpillars spreading the word. Throughout, the animals wear clothing and engage in human pursuits, just as their child counterparts would. Appended with a matching quiz for those who are not familiar with these rights, If You Could Wear My Sneakers makes an attractive addition to the poetry shelf. Those already owning the original should be aware that this new edition seems to be identical, with the exception that Fitch introduces this edition while the 1997 version contained a forward by Peter Gzowski.

Highly Recommended.

Kay Weisman works as a youth services librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library and chairs the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award.

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

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