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Sumptuous and beguiling illustrations – Mathew Tobin


This story is asking to be read aloud

Buy The Secret of the Tattered Shoes


Mathew Tobin, Senior Lecturer in Primary English and Children’s Literature at Oxford Brookes, has written this glowing review on Goodreads! The Secret of the Tattered Shoes is our magical new release in our One Story, Many Voices series.

Here’s what Mathew said:


The tale of the twelve dancing princesses is an old one that has been adapted as it has passed through different cultures and ideologies. A lot of fairy tales these days continue to subvert the original ideologies usually around themes of masculinity and power and this is a good thing indeed. This collaboration between Jackie Morris and Ehsan Abdollahi though retains much of the Andrew Lang/Grimm versions(?) and chooses to focus on something different: the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. In this little change, Morris’ story presents us with a beautiful, touching ending which I adored.

Inspired by the natural world (possibly from his home in Iran), Ehsan’s double-page spreads are awash in the bright, bold colours of trees, flowers, birds and fruit. His mixed media art – collage, pencils, inks and water-colours – are sumptuous and beguiling with the wordless spread of the princes and princesses crossing the lake a particular triumph. Jackie Morris’s writing is well practiced and she does an excellent job of providing space for the illustrator to weave his magic whilst retaining the tone and tempo of the tale with paired back, elegant prose: this is a story asking to be read aloud.

I loved this addition to Tiny Owl’s ‘One Story, Many Voices’ series and I would love to see more collaborations between authors and illustrators around the globe.

  • Read Jackie Morris’ blog post about The Secret of the Tattered Shoes
  • Watch the trailer of The Secret of the Tattered Shoes
  • Read an interview with Jackie Morris, author of The Secret of the Tattered Shoes

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