Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee

cover image

Simon and Schuster, 2012. ISBN 978 0 85707 825 1.
(Age: 5+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Relationships. Two puppies, born in the same litter, live in the same house. They do everything together, eat form the same bowl, pee in the same tree and sleep together on the same cushion, but each day they chose to stay at a different place outside the house. One choses to sleep on a chair on the front porch while the other a chair on the back porch. And they were perfectly satisfied, until one day a mischievous squirrel decided to make trouble. It antagonised the pair of dogs until they retaliated, chasing the animal around the house until it left. But then Boot could not find Shoe and Shoe could not find Boot. For many pages the two dogs search for each other and young children will squeal with directions for the dogs to follow. Hoots of 'there he is' and 'just around the corner' will be heard from young readers and listeners as they watch the two friends trying to connect once again.
The beautiful line illustrations render the personalities of the dogs to a whisker. Their antics in finding each other are just stunning as the drawings of their dejected and lonely faces peer out of the pages. The coloured background diminishes as they become more forlorn at losing their sibling, and brightens, returning once again to the colour of old,underlining their happy reunion. Themes of friendship, loss, companionship and reunion are obvious but the idea that friends do not need to spend all their days together could be a talking point with children as well.
Fran Knight