Using their footwear as points of departure, Grimes presents a cycle of poems about kids’ everyday lives and dreams for the future. Salena’s sandals conjure warm-weather pleasures (“Summer picnics/At the beach,/Dragonflies/In easy reach,/Cruising town/In sandaled feet”), while Talisha’s toe shoes point to a career in ballet (“Your tattered pink/Tricks those who think/You’re too frail to hold form”). “Slippers” offers a fitting benediction at the end of a child’s busy day: “Rest your soles./Spread your toes./Curl, breathe deep./There now, Dreamer,/Hush-/Sleep.” Widener’s exuberant acrylic paintings capture the joys and hopes expressed in each of the poems. A multicultural cast of boys and girls engage in sports activities, perform onstage, and enjoy the outdoors. Their elongated arms and legs seem to be in constant motion and make an interesting contrast to the rounded shape of their faces. This collection clearly celebrates its child readers.
Nikki Grimes began penning poetry at the age of six. Her many award-winning titles include the picture books Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, which won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and Meet Danitra Brown, which won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Coretta Scott King Author Honors went to her novels The Road to Paris, Jazmin’s Notebook, and Dark Sons, and her novel Bronx Masquerade won the Coretta Scott King Author Award. She lives in Corona, California.