Kitchen Table Reviews: Don't Lose Your Shoes!
Newbie shoelace-wranglers will be encouraged by this cute and clever instructional story.
Don’t Lose Your Shoes! By Elizabeth Mills
It’s been a really long time since my children learned how to tie their shoes. I can’t tell you exactly how it went–mostly because I don’t remember–but I can tell you that deep in my heart I detest the teaching of shoelace-tying. I would rather potty train a dozen children than teach just one the mystery of laces that don’t spontaneously untie. Sad, but true. Now you know my dirty little secret.
Me: I know that you both know how to tie your shoes, obviously, but when we’re talking about this I want you to pretend you’re a little kid, or think like a little kid, and try to evaluate the book from the stance of someone just learning how, okay?
Son: Did we have a book, when we learned how?
Me: No, you had me. And some shoes. Your life is hard.
Daughter: I thought this was really cute. I mean, Eric [the main character] is a monkey with a banana picture on his t-shirt! But he whines a lot.
Son: The story is pretty cute, instead of just being all “here’s how to tie your shoes.” It’s kids at a playground, helping each other. That’s good.
Me: I like that the practice lace is two colors, so that instead of having to keep track of right and left they can say “take the blue lace” or “make a loop with the purple part.” That’s very smart.
Son: Yeah, but there’s one problem. They show how to tie shoes making two loops, and I do the lace around one loop, method.
Me: The rabbit going around the tree and into the burrow, right?
Son: Yes! This might be confusing for kids taught that way.
Daughter: Although, you know, it almost doesn’t matter because almost no one wears shoes with laces anymore, anyway! All the cool sneakers have z-straps.
Me: Uhhhh... you still have to know how to tie laces.
Daughter: I’m just saying. And I tie laces with two loops, like the book.
Me: I do it with the loop and then going around.
Son: I like how there’s a bit of instruction on every page, for every step, but then at the end there’s a whole guide if you just want the steps and not the story, too.
Daughter: And I like how the cover with the “shoe” flips out, so you can have the laces next to the story and practice while you read.
If we hadn’t known how to tie our shoes before this book, we would now.
Pros: Engaging story to encourage newbie shoelace-wranglers. Dual-colored practice lace makes directions clearer. Clever construction of book cover allows for tying while reading instructions.
Cons: Somewhat improbable that an entire pack of kids would each know only one step of the tying process. Eric is kind of a whiner. Only shows the two-loop method.
Don’t Lose Your Shoes! gets three thumbs up from the old(er) and barefoot audience here at our kitchen table, but we think your little learner will like it, too.