November 5, 2011
Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes
by Amy Ditmore
As a mom of 4, I have heard so many things that kids worry about that us as adults wouldn't think twice about. From not wearing short because they have chicken legs ( a problem I wish I had :) ), or their legs are too white, or too dark and chunky...( I have one child with each lol) and now my 11 year old is beginning to have those "dreaded pimples". He came home the other day and ran to the mirror, and to his surprise the blemish on his nose was "much huger that what I thought it was. Everybody saw it Mom!" In reality it wasn't that "much huger" it was just his imagination. It's funny sometimes to hear how the smallest things affect them, and how they worry about what people will say. This is what happened to the little Willie in Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes.
Slippery Willie earned his name from being the "slipperiest" kid ever! He slipped and slid all over the place, across floors, up, down, and around the walls, EVERYWHERE. In order to keep him safe from all the slip-sliding he was doing, he had to wear these special shoes made for him to keep him from slipping so much. Willie hated these shoes, and he told his mother they were "stupid and ugly". He was so fearful that everyone would make fun of him, so worried that it was, in fact, affecting his sleep. As the story goes on, Slippery Willie learns that sometimes we stress ourselves way too much about something that really isn't as big a deal as we think.
Larry Peterson does a wonderful job with this book, making it pretty relevant to a conversation I would have with one of my kids about a concern they have. It's targeted towards ages 5 or so to around 10 or 11 I would say. My boys are 10, 11, and 13 and all 3 of them thought it was a neat story. They asked me why Slippery Willie's shoes looked so much bigger and uglier in the beginning, and in the end they didn't look like that..... I explained that it may have been portraying how Willie viewed the shoes in his mind, compared to what they really looked like. "Ooooh......" they said.
This book is enjoyable and easy for young readers, as well as reading to your littler ones. It's definitely lesson rich and I would recommend it to parents, grandparents, as well as teachers. In the back of the book is a section with some activities for the older kids to try. They're aimed at teaching them empathy. There are also questions regarding how they accept difference. You'd be surprised at the answers you may get.
Even my little girl who is just 14 months liked this book. (She's not as nice as the boys were though, because she DID laugh at Slippery Willie's Stupid Ugly Shoes..... )
You can preview "Slippery Willie's Stupid Ugly Shoes", and you can also purchase this book in different forms, including for the Kindle for just $2.99. If you have a story to share about how you teach your children to accept peoples' differences, or even how you yourself deal with them, Mr. Peterson would love for you to share with him and his readers.
Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.