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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
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Laura Joh Rowland

The Shoemaker and the Elves

The Shoemaker and the Elves - Cynthia Birrer, William Birrer The charm of this retelling of the Shoemaker and the Elves is the stitched illustrations. They really have a tactile appeal, and I would have loved to have seen and touched these textile pieces of art. I love it when women use textiles to communicate a story or an idea. There is just something very time-honored about that, and it's a way of communicating that makes me feel a connection to women of the past.

Anyway, the story. I was a little concerned that my niece and nephew would find this old tale to be hokey. How can the Shoemaker and the Elves compete with all the flash and pop of modern kids stories? Answer: Little naked blue guys who parade into one's house, sit their bare butts down on the table top and do all one's work for one! The kids thought that was awesome. And creepy. When it was revealed that the cobbler's work was being done by naked blue guys, my niece's somewhat disconcerted response was, "Ew. Why are there naked guys in the house? Who goes into people's houses without clothes on?" Well, you know, cultural differences. I'd sure want the Clorox Wipes handy after that visit, though.