Review Blog

Apr 18 2018

Go Go and the silver shoes by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

cover image

Penguin Viking, 2018. ISBN 9780143785521
When all your clothes are the hand-me-downs from your three wild brothers, it is important to make the most of what you have. Even though they were fourth-hand, Go Go had a knack for making them interesting and wore them proudly even if "friends" like Annabelle made unkind comments. And when the only new things you get are your knickers and sneakers, then it is especially important to choose the most beautiful you can find. So when Go Go chose a pair of silver sneakers that sparkled in the sun she wore them everywhere. She loved them and was so proud of them, even if they were a bit big to last longer. But disaster struck the day the family went on a picnic and while Go Go and her brothers were having an adventure down through the rocks in the river, one of the precious shoes is lost. Go Go is heartbroken and very cross as her mum points out that perhaps she should have worn older shoes that day.
But undeterred and despite her brothers' suggestions for what she could do with the remaining shoe, Go Go is determined to wear it still - even if it means teaming it with an odd shoe and facing the jeers of Annabelle. This is a decision that leads to an unexpected friendship as both Go Go and the lost shoe have their own journeys to make.
There is so much to love about this story - as the grandmother of one who never wears matching socks and is so unaffected by a need to be trendy, I love Go Go's independence and confidence in creating her own style and being a bit different; as one who grew up in the middle of eight boys (all but one cousins), I love that she is me 50+ years ago and all the memories that evokes; and I love Anna Walker's illustrations that are so subtle and detailed and tell a story of their own. And I love the ending - you just never know where or how lasting friendships are going to happen. From its sparkly cover to its stunning endpages, this is a unique story that had me enthralled to the end.
So many will identify with Go Go and draw strength and confidence from her independence and ability to get to the nub of what being a child is about without all the frills and fripperies.
Barbara Braxton

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