cover image Shoe-la-la!


Karen Beaumont, illus. by LeUyen Pham, Scholastic Press, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-06705-8

"Party dresses, party hair.../ Need new party shoes to wear./ Emily, Ashley, Kaitlyn, Claire!/ Let's go find the perfect pair!" Four young gal pals (who are also conveniently unaccompanied minors) wreak havoc at the eponymous shoe store, a boutique run by a mustachioed man who proves no match for this enthusiastic quartet. When they still come up empty-handed (footed?) after turning the boutique upside down, the budding fashionistas turn savvy frugalistas, creating fabulous decorations for the shoes they already have. The premise inspires mostly literal, listy descriptions from Beaumont (Doggone Dogs!): "Shoes with zippers,/ Shoes with straps,/ Shoes with buckles,/ Shoes with taps"). But Pham (Bedtime for Mommy) carries the day. Flying her girly flag proudly in pages dominated by pink, peach, and purple, she gives each of her characters an entire repertoire of divaesque emotions and outfits (along the way, these "Glamour Girls" channel everyone from brides-to-be and flappers to figures like Annie Oakley, Jem, and Audrey Hepburn), and makes palpable the adrenaline rush that only a great retail experience can provide. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)