This comedy adventure is a new one-off story from the author-illustrator of the humongously popular Tom Gates series, Liz Pichon. Fans will be delighted to see her chaotic and energetic style applied to a new story…even if they don’t like shoes!
Ivor Foot and his children, Ruby and Bear, live in Shoetown, where everyone is completely dotty about shoes. There are shoes with googly eyes and spikey teeth, shoes with cameras in the sole and even shoes that make their own music, and Ivor and his friends are in charge of inventing the new styles. But there is one invention that nobody seems able to master (until now) – flying shoes – and their discovery is enough to start a shoe war.
Shoetown is totally dominated by Wendy Wedge – owner of the biggest factory in town, and mother to the world’s least likeable little boy, Walter. Wendy can’t bear the idea of anybody but her winning the Golden Shoe Awards, and she needs those flying shoes to win. This spells big trouble for Ivor’s family, and Ruby and Bear have a race against time to save their inventor dad from Wendy and her minions, who include a pair of ferocious guard dogs (Left and Right) and the sinister, creepy Mr Creeper.
At more than 400 pages, it is a weighty book for young readers, but that is because the story is illustrated and told in such a generous manner. The story is never rushed and characters are given plenty of time and space so that every ounce of comedy is squeezed out (few characters get to share their dungaree collection with their readers!). What really takes up so many pages, though, is the simply enormous number of cartoon illustrations. They seem to explode out of almost every other paragraph. From tiny portraits highlighting the raising of an eyebrow, to full page spreads detailing entire towns, Pichon spoils her readers with so many doodles that you can almost read the story without the words.
Shoe Wars is an exciting story with lively characters that offer plenty of laughs. Most of all though, it is a visual feast, with bold fonts, random capitalisation, and calligrams jostling for space on the already crowded pages. Like Pichon’s other books, it can be enjoyed as a funny, action-packed page-turner, but also as a comic book of cartoons so that children can keep returning to their favourite bits again and again.