Tiny Feet Tiny Shoes

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What is it?

A picture book.

Who is it by?

By Adeline Foo with art by Beth Parrocha and published by Scholastic.

What is it about?

This story is about Ling whose feet were bound when she was a young girl. She buries a box in the garden, seven steps away from her favourite tree. Many years later, Ling has a daughter. They visit the garden and try to locate the box but cannot find it. Years later, her daughter grows up and has a child, and Ling becomes a grandmother. Ling visits the garden again, this time with her grandson. He tells her her feet are ugly. They too are unable to find the box. Then Ling has a dream and remembers that her feet are not as tiny as they used to be. Will they find the box with Ling’s treasure?

What can children learn from it?

Children will find out about the Chinese tradition of binding the feet of girls so that they would remain petite and “beautiful”.

What did I like about it?

The story is simple and charming. It doesn’t try to cram too much information into it or try to explain everything or even have a moral to it. Foo’s story is as beautiful as the illustrations in her book, and she explains the tradition in a very matter-of-fact way without succumbing to emotions or imposing judgment.

Beth Parrocha’s use of various shades from her watercolours make the book a beautiful read. They add to Ling’s beauty as a young girl and warmth as an old lady.

This book won the AFCC (Asian Festival of Children’s Content) Asian Children’s Book Award. Besides teaching kids about an old Chinese tradition, it also teaches children that their grandparents have stories about their childhood and helps kids see their grandparents as people, too.

Where to get it?

Available at Kinokuniya.

Should you get it?

Yes. This is a great book to introduce young children to an old Chinese tradition.