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The Red Shoes

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  128 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A contemporary retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic beautifully illustrated by artist Sun Young Yoo.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Ammo Books (first published 1969)
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Community Reviews

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I was curious how a children’s picture book would base their story upon a tale that had been written with an older audience in mind; especially a tale that is quite disturbing. What follows is not a negative review, but neither is it easy. The short of it: but for the first paragraph, ignore the jacket copy and do not compare it to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes.”

"Artistically stunning, The Red Shoes, as envisioned by Susan Young Yoo, creates a magical world of beautiful shoes, ornamen
Romanaus Elangwe
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Karen, the daughter of poor shoemaker dreamt about growing-up and making beautiful dancing shoes and clothes to go with them. Because her mother was too poor to buy shoes for her birthday, she had been secretly making a pair of red shoes for Karen out of some leftover scraps. Unfortunately she fell ill and died when the shoes were almost ready to be worn. Grieving Karen would wear the shoe each time she thought about her mother. A princess passing through the village admired Karen's red shoes an ...more
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jess by: Marjie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
My five-year-old son picked this book out from the library this week. I might have helped him -- my first name is Karen, and I was so enthralled with and terrified of Andersen's version as a child that I was twenty before I owned a pair of red shoes.

The pen and ink illustrations are delightful, but lacking one thing: Red. Just that touch of color could have made this book so much more visually powerful.

The story may have been "based on" Andersen's "Red Shoes", much like "Frozen" is based on An
Christine Turner
A retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in which a girl's desire for a pair of red dancing shoes almost dooms her to dance forever.

This is modern version of Hans Chrisian Andersen's orginal fairytale. I must say,I perfer this version of the story. The main character uses her creativity, passion and problem solving skills to overcome the challenges that she faces. This version shows that inner strength and hard work provide a positive outcome. A wonderful message for any
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
i agree with this review that stated "The illustrations were beautiful, but the story read like a parable for indie designers." As an indie designer, I didn't see that as a drawback — I liked how the newly interpreted text taught the lesson that cleverness and honing of your (potentially inherited) skills could help carve your path in life and help you preserve the memories of your teachers. The story was what it was, but the illustrations? They're gorgeous. Think Edward Gorey meets George Barbi ...more
Meghan Coffey
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this fractured version of Hans Christian Anderson's The Red Shoes, the story differs from the original just slightly, but in all the good ways. In the original, it was overbearing with Christian themes of "you need to repent or else..." and all that good stuff, but in this version, it teaches kids to be optimistic and clever and to stand up for themselves. I loved that the main character, Karen, is creative and strong and clever for a child. In my opinion, this teaches a better lesson than th ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: january-2014
This version of the red shoes is a heart tugging tale about a daughter's quest to honor her mother. Through the story, you can gain a spiritual uplifting because of the mother/daughter bond that is connected beyond the grave. The mom's legend of the shoes she made for her daughter inspired the girl to out-wit the spoiled princess and eventually create her own happy life. The pen-work illustrations were awe-inspiring. While there is no color to the pages, the drawings are still every bit as excit ...more
Ashley Sites
Sep 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I thought that this was a nice story. I've never heard the original story, but I glance at some of the other reviews, it seems to be a pretty horrific one. I'm actually quite interested in knowing what the original is like. This book had very nice illustrations. Though, I thought that they had a Japanese/anime/something kind of feel to them and I found that a little odd for some reason. The story never said as to why the shoes became stuck on the girl's feet. I thought that it was cool that she ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Stunning illustrations by Sun Yung Yoo--5+ stars for the art; I will be eagerly awaiting any future book illustrations in her career. The story itself is retold/reinvented from the original, and although I like the plot changes, the telling by Gloria Fowler is just okay. Even worse, the spoiled princess catches "site" of the red shoes, and I am obsessive enough about grammar and spelling that it may prevent me from purchasing this beautifully-illustrated volume.
Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Gorgeous illustrations but no red . . . not even on the shoes. (An interesting choice on the artist's part. As a child I would have grabbed a red crayon or shoes and fixed the artist's mistake.) This is a changed version of the classic tale. Less gruesome which begs the question: Is this an improvement? For more:
Sam Bloom
This somewhat bizarre take on Hans Christian Anderson's tale is, as the inner book jacket explains, a "new interpretation... [with:] a postive message" of empowerment and self-worth for the young heroine. The "positive message" is handled kind of strangely, and after finishing I found myself looking back a few pages to try to figure out exactly what the heck happened... it was very odd. Anyway, the pencil illustrations are really very lovely, but the book itself is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
A much tamer version of this Andersen-inspired fairy tale than the one I had read previously. The threat of cutting off the girl's feet for her shoes still looms in the story, but the girl overcomes the threat through her own cleverness and hard work. I liked the sparse, pen and ink illustrations, but they might not hold all kids' interests.
Oct 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-s-books
This was beyond my 3 1/2 yr old DS and I probably wouldn't have read it to him had I pre-read it. Mostly because her mother dies in the beginning. And then there is a sort of Cinderella-esque deal with a spoiled princess. The illustrations are beautiful and the creativity of the girl would appeal to little girls (primarily), especially those who like a fashionable pair of shoes.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: art, picture-books
The illustrations were beautiful, but the story read like a parable for indie designers. I was honestly surprised to find that it was based on Hans Christian Anderson, as it had none of the flow or charm of his work.
Mary Meldrum
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: january
I love this book. I enjoyed the way the author changed the story and made it happy! The art work was very nice too.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
5 stars for the illustrations
Emilee Engelbrecht
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure what it was about this book but I absolutely adored it. The illustrations were so intricate and unique. The story was very sweet ending with her and her own little shoe shop.
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a cool book that has an appealing story for girls, like me!
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This picture book for older readers is like a Grimm fairy tale without the magic but the beautifully unique pen and ink drawings suffice for pixy dust.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-book
The illustrations were awesome!!! The text was only ok; the words simply didn't match the flowing pencil drawings. Still a good read, if for no other reason than to see the pictures.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A beautifully illustrated version of the Hans Christian Anderson story, very modern and contemporary.
Andd Becker
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
The disappointment is that the colorless drawings lack the color red to illuminate the shoe-star of the story.
Rachel Rouleau
Jan 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Boring story and boring illustrations. Couldn't figure out if this was based on some sort of actual fairy tale or just set up to sound like one.
Tina Bartholoma
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
revised andersen fairytale, shoes, creativity, mementoes
Terrible proofreading, both typos and grammar. Interesting as an attempt to recuperate the Andersen version of death, but not quite compelling. Lovely illustrations, however!
Sarah Kiesche
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Cute folk tale about an orphaned girl who is faced with having to part with her red shoes. Love the female lead in this story and it has a great message!
Jun 13, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a beautifully illustrated book, but more for adults or older kids interested in picture books.
Eric Weilnau
rated it liked it
Dec 23, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jan 14, 2015
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