The Children's & Teens' Book Connection
March 18, 2011
Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson
by Cheryl Malandrinos
Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. They are so slippery that he just slips, slides, and spins all over the place. The only thing he hates worse than his slippery feet is his stupid, ugly shoes. He’s certain everyone is going to laugh at him when they see them on his feet. He’ll be the laughing-stock of the school; no, of his neighborhood. Even the animals will be laughing at him.
There is no way he is wearing those stupid, ugly shoes.
Get ready to laugh, because this is one silly story. Can you imagine having such slippery feet that you can’t even keep your shoes on? Even worse, can you imagine having to walk around with the stupidest, ugliest shoes on your feet that are specially made to help with your problem?
Well, that’s what happens to poor Willie Wiggles and he sure isn’t happy about it.
While this is a zany story, it tackles a very serious issue: accepting differences. Often young people are anxious about themselves–their appearance, their physical challenges–even when there’s nothing to worry about in the first place. Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson addresses this topic, and it does so by delivering the message in a non-threatening way. That is easily my favorite part of the book.
The artwork for this book is wonderful. They are simple illustrations, but they work well with the text. They also manage to display a great deal of emotion, despite their simplicity.
Included at the end of the book is an Interactive Guide that contains activities and discussion questions, making Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes perfect for the classroom or home. Parents and educators can use this as a springboard for more meaningful discussions about accepting ourselves and others.