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The Blue Shoe: A Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  438 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Far away, in a remote mountain village, there is a cobbler's shop. And in the window there sits a shoe. Not just any shoe, but a jewel-encrusted blue shoe. When the shoe's largest jewel goes missing, the cobbler's assistant, Hap, is blamed and banished to the dreaded Mount Xexnax. Legend has it that no one has ever returned from Xexnax, but Hap Barlow isn't just anyone, an ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Yearling (first published October 13th 2009)
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Cute and clever, with a tongue-in-cheek narration and set in an imaginative world. The plot seemed to become a little disjointed at the end (this one was headed for 4 stars up until the climax), but still an entertaining read.

I will never be able to see Mary Granpre's illustrations without thinking of Harry Potter, so it threw me a couple times to turn the page and think "wait, when did Hermione and Hagrid show up?" for a second. But they were lovely, as always.

I was reading a first edition, whi
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

One evening in a small town called Aplanap, a mysterious stranger approaches the shoemaker, Grel, to make a blue shoe entirely out of strange blue gems. The shoe must never be sold or damaged.

When Hap, the shoemaker's apprentice, steals a gem from the blue shoe to save a poor beggar girl, he is sentenced to the mountain Xexnax. There he finds a race of people called Auki's working in the mines. Aplanap's mayor and his wife are
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit
Figured it out. I am, in fact, too old for this book, which I ordered from the library by mistake. Wrong "blue shoe" book.
The cover of this book caught my eye as I was running through the library. The binding is entirely blue with an illustration of swirling blue fabric behind a lavishly bejeweled blue shoe. I literally grabbed it from the shelving cart, flipped to the back and read:
"Not long ago, in the sunny mountain village of Aplanap, there stood a small shoemaker’s shop. And in the window of that shop was a shoe that fit nobody. Of course, since it was only one shoe, it was doubly useless. Yet everyone who lea
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
I loved this book. It had me at the first page by starting off almost as if it were a fairy tale. It takes place in a mountain town run by an uncredulous mayor and his very spoiled and selfish wife. They feel the whole town should be at their beck and call and anything they want or fancy,well mostly the mayor's wife she should have. Even if it means hiring criminals to dig and run a prison at a mountain of mining to get what they want.

This book is sort of a dark tale but one that also has a les
Mar 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I don't feel like I should give this one star because the first 9/10ths of this book were fun. Maybe the first 19/20ths. The last thirty pages began to drag, which made it hard to finish, but then the last four pages completely killed it for me.

I'm probably gonna toss this book. It's been a while since I disliked a book so much that I decided to throw it out rather than have someone else read it.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Fun and enjoyable. Would recommend to any 8-12 year old. If you're older than that, it's still a good read, you just won't be blown away.
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5013
A boy, a girl, little blue men, a kindly, old cobbler, and the most magnificient, sparkly blue shoe you've ever seen...those are the elements that make up the story of The Blue Shoe. In the sleepy little town of Aplanap, every one works hard, but no one, not one single soul, will put up with a thief, especially the mayor.

After Hap is left a virtual orphan, since his father, Silas, was sent off to Mount Xexnax, he is penniless and hungry. He steals food to eat, is caught, yet Grel, the soft-hear
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
to work in the mines. I found the Auki to be an interesting race. Really, I believe they are Dwarves with really long noses and blue skin. Let's see, they live underground and are good at mining. Isn't that a dwarf? Anyway, I really liked the little guys, even if they were a little gruff. Hey, just like a dwarf! Okay, enough of the dwarf thing.

One thing I thought was really cool about this book was the the text in the book was printed in blue ink, not the normal black in. Even the pictures by Ma
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
“Not long ago, in the sunny mountain village of Aplanap, famous for its tilted streets, cuckoo clocks, and Finster cheese, there stood a small shoemaker’s shop. And in the window of that shop was a shoe that fit nobody.”

In this book Mr. Townley invites the reader to follow the adventures of Hap, the goodhearted assistant cobbler to the shoemaker who made the beautiful blue shoe. When the blue shoe looses its magical glow (due to Hap’s theft of one of the precious blue stones), he is sent to work
Jun 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hap Barlow was a thief. And that meant that he would be banished to Mt. Xexnax, and would never be seen again. He was only a boy, and he had only been trying to help a poor beggar girl, but those things didn't matter. Hap, however, was not the type of boy to go moaning to his doom. He was a thinker and a doer, and he never gave up.
His master, the shoemaker, had a shoe covered with glowing blue stones which was displayed in his shop window. Everyone wondered where the stones had come from. Wit
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidsbooks, library
Rating 2.5 It was hard to rate this book because, while I liked many things about it, I felt like it was too dark for this sort of book. In the beginning you get the feeling that it's a bit like a fairytale but, as the story progresses, there are many harsh and irreparable things that occur. Most fairytales come right in the end with a simple kind of justice, and there is some of that here, but it felt like the evil had gone on too long and too deeply. It felt like we had two different kinds and ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-fiction
A rousing tale with a blue shoe, a blue diamond, blue Aukis (read the book & find out!), a very blue book cover and blue type throughout the book. (Thank heavens, blue is my favorite color!) Puts me in mind of the movie "Avatar," not only because of the blue characters but because of this statement in the book, "...'Tell your people to stop taking what does not belong to them.' He shook his shaggy head. 'The mountain supports us all. We take from it what we need. That is allowed, But enough. ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"The Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes."

This is a story about thirteen-year-old Hap Barlo, the shoemaker's apprentice that is loyal to his master, Grel. But when a mysterious stranger comes to visit the shoemaker with a strange request, the pair's life turns upside-down. People far and wide come to see this remarkable shoe, which gives the two extraordinary business. But when a strange beggar girl comes, everything goes horribly wrong...

Beautifully written, Townley will have you
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People with real imaginations
Magical. Charming, and again, magical.

The book was easy to read, meaning the writing was smooth and fluid. Not only was it written nicely but it also was brilliant enough to transport me into another world. A world that I didn't mind actually living in.

This book had the right amount of quirky magic, suspenseful scenes, action-filled chapters and adorable characters. I thought this book was going to be some Cinderella story but I was surprised - in a good way. And I'm sure future readers will be
Feb 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dawn by: Benjamin
I needed something light as a break after reading The Hiding Place. My son gave me this book for Christmas but he read it before I got to it. :) A nice little fantasy with a somewhat allegorical feel at times. I thought the names for the town and the goddess were horrendous, but that's a minor complaint. The author seemed to use Old English/Germanic words for the language of the Auki--not very original, but kind of fun for me to read. Perhaps he did it so the readers could understand without too ...more
This is an adventure story with evil overseers, buried treasure, little blue creatures, magic (um, sort of), and other exciting things, including the shoe! Well, shoes aren't very exciting, usually, but this is one special shoe (yup, just one). Hap Barlo is just trying to get along and not starve, but unlucky things just keep happening to him. Until, finally, he is sent to Mount Xexnax to work off the rest of his days in hard labor on the frozen mountain. But that is just where this story begins ...more
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I realized the other day that I have been working on three non-fiction books for some time and not really making much headway with any of them. What to do? What to do? Obviously, read a fiction book that is fun and fantastic--A little Hobbit-ish, a little Harry Potter-ish. Not too difficult for my tired non-fiction-reading brain. Ahhhh.
My favorite quote:
"He's only a boy!"
"That's a temporary condition."
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2009
The writing in this book was so choppy that it took away from what could have been a cute story. Hap Barlo, a shoemaker's apprentice gets into all kinds of trouble when he takes a jewel from the most famous shoe around in order to help out a poor beggar. He is then banished to the far side of Mount Xexnax, but he's kind of excited because his father and many other poor people have been sent there by the tyrannical mayor and his wife.
Valerie L
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Lawyer
Recommended to Valerie by: Gaylene Davis
Shelves: junior
3.5 stars! I really enjoyed this cute tale! I would defenitely suggest it as a 4 star for kids 8 - 14 year olds! Very quick fun read! This blue shoe sits in the window display of a shoe cobbler. Hap is his apprentice. Hap may be a thief, he may be poor, he may be a bit optomistic, and he may be just what the town needs to save them from the oppresive mines on Mt. Xexnax - where Hap may soon end up if he's not careful!
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Imaginative story in an imaginary world. Although it starts off like a fairy tale, it takes a turn and develops into the story of a young, kind hero followed by a stubborn female friend, who set off to find his father and resuce him from a prison set in the freezing cold mountains near the city of Aplanap.
Recommended for ages 8-12.
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love, LOVE, lovelovelovelovelove, LOVED it! Can't say it too many times. Super cute, super creative, and the writing was very inventive. It's a quick read, but it's one of those that's great for young and old. It's about a boy who, among his other, very amiable qualities, was a thief.
Jun 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cobbler is visited by a strangely tall person who requests a single shoe, covered with gems. The stranger never returns to pick up his order, so the shoe waits in the window. Little does anyone know how special this shoe is, and how it will change the oppressed little town of Aplanap. This light fantasy is allegorical and humorous, recommended for 4th grade and up.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A story about a thievery, villainy, sorcery, and a shoe! A fairly decent story. Hap must save his dad, friend Sophia and the blue diamond. The shoe of course is more than just a shoe. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the illustrator is Mary GrandPre the illustrator of the Harry Potter books!
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this to my 9-year-old, and she really enjoyed it. There were some cute and clever elements, but the villains were rather irritating caricatures, and the injustice they dispensed extreme. The wrongs are eventually redressed (yes, it's a happily ever after), but I became impatient waiting for justice.
It had me til the end. I thought the end was a bit difficult to swallow. But loved the story until then. The characters are endearing, the plot (til the end) was good. I enjoyed the way the story was written. But just wasn't as happy with the end.
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
MSBA Nominee 2010-2011

I liked this book. A mysterious blue shoe is in a cobbler's shop. Everyone who sees it wants it. And just what is happening on the mysterious mountain that overlooks the village?
Josh Newhouse
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, with its quirky fantasy writing that felt a little bit more real than most fantasies... right up to the last 2 chapters which knocked it down a peg in my book... it was both obvious, and a little disappointing how it ended... Still a great book.
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