This book left my Mom's kindergarten class in wonder more than any other book of the season! If you're going to check out a copy of The Elves and the Shoemaker, this retelling from the Brothers Grimm illustrated by Jim LaMarche (c. 2003) is the one to get -- hands down. You know the story: a couple fallen on tough times sets out their final piece of leather to cobble into shoes the next morning. Only the next morning they're surprised to find beautifully handcrafted shoes that instantly sell.
My children were especially drawn to the elves and the shoes -- the elves because they've cleverly been depicted as children and the shoes because, well, just wait until you see them for yourself.
The illustrations are breathtaking -- think fairy tale set in old world Europe. Even the title and endpages are a delight. That needle and thread ties the book together in more ways than one. And if a classroom of kids and I haven't sold you on it, take a look at a few reviews:
- "Jim LaMarche's paintings are extraordinarily beautiful. . . . They indicate a deep kind of thinking about illustration in children's books." The New York Times
- "This dazzling picture book is an artistic triumph." School Library Journal
- "The luminous illustrations evoke a magical aura." The Horne Book