The Secret of the Tattered Shoes is a fresh interpretation of the classic Brothers Grimm story!
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One of the things that the children and I are starting to look at together is the language used in books. Both Daniel and Emma occasionally pick up a pen and write something spontaneously and I’m keen to help them develop their creative writing skills.
I’ve been thinking of ways that we can use picture books for this, mainly because it will also allow H to get involved too.
We started this today with a new book we were sent by the team at Tiny Owl, The Secret of the Tattered Shoes by Jackie Morris and illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi. Its a wonderfully inviting book and is a new telling of the classic Twelve Dancing Princesses.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses wasn’t a story I was familiar with until earlier this year when we had it as a library book. I must admit the notion of the prince solving a mystery and choosing which of the Princesses he got to marry made me feel a little uneasy when reading it to Em, I don’t always go along with the notion that all the classic and princess stories need rewriting but this particular one did sit uneasily with me.
When we read this today Em recognised it as being similar to the Twelve Dancing Princesses and it was nice to explore from a different perspective.
This is quite a dark book in many ways, with a soldier struggling with the effect of war and seeking death. The language is dark and not at all what I was expecting but it works so well, as the soldier sees the gift he has been given by the mysterious woman in the forest and it’s fantastic to see that the soldier seeks a different ending.
The illustrations are fantastic and are almost like puppets set against different backdrops. We talked about how the illustrator might have achieved this and we set about making out own pictures. Daniel drew the king and Emma a princess. We cut them out and then positioned them against another backdrop; Daniel drew the King looking out of his castle at night for the princesses, and Em drew the dance hall where she imagined they went to after they sailed away in the boat.
I really like the illustrations and there’s an awful lot of detail to be discovered, much like the re-telling of the story and how things adapt and change over time.
- Yippee! The Secret of the Tattered Shoes is nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021!
- The Secret of the Tattered Shoes is one of the Guardian’s best books of 2019!
- The Sunday Times picks The Secret of the Tattered Shoes as Book of the Week!
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