"In this witty, wise picture book, Boelts presents a kid's-eye view of a consumer fad that rages through school at gale force." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy's grandma says they don't have room for "want," just "need," when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren't much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has -- warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend -- are worth more than the things he wants.
Grades K-3. Boelts tackles both the appeal of high-tops and the difficulty of doing the right thing in a story narrated by African American Jeremy. In the opening pages, Jeremy lies on the floor of his apartment, drawing while his grandmother reads. She answers his request for “those shoes” with, “There’s no room for ‘want’ around here—just ‘need.’ And what you need are new boots for winter.” Jeremy notes how many classmates are wearing the black shoes with white stripes. He is humiliated when one of his own shoes comes apart during recess, and the well-meaning guidance counselor gives him a bright-blue pair of shoes decorated with uncool superheroes. Jeremy wants high-tops so much that he settles for a thrift-shop pair that are really too small. After some delay, he gives in to his kinder impulses and passes them on to a smaller friend. Ultimately, he gets his reward—snow—and makes great use of his new winter boots. Jones’ autumn-toned illustrations wonderfully complement Boelts’ sweet-natured main characters and nondidactic life lesson.