Feb 2, 2012
Keeper of Soles
Keeper of Soles by Teresa Bateman
Illustrated by Yayo
Published by Holiday House
Colin was a dedicated shoemaker and a very generous man. While he made a lot of money selling his shoes to the richest people in the kingdom, he used that profit to make shoes for those who couldn't afford them. One night, there was a knock at his door, and when Colin opened the door he found a tall figure wearing a long black cloak. The figure spoke and said that it was Death, "with a voice that spoke of graveyards and dark, starless nights." Death had come to take Colin's soul. Colin though about all the shoes he still had to make, about "all the feet that would go cold and bare." And that's when he noticed that Death was barefoot. Colin finds a way to distract Death from its mission by making him a pair of sandals. A confused Death walks away with a plan to return in four weeks to try on his new shoes. Time after time Colin is able to distract Death with new pairs of shoes. Years go by and Death keeps taking soles instead of souls.
I loved Keeper of Soles. It has a great plot --the kind that allows for oral retellings-- and the illustrations by Yayo are whimsical and brilliant. There are details to be savored over multiple readings, especially the amazing shoe designs Yayo has come up with. While the topic of Death at the front door might be a bit dark for the youngest readers, Colin's wit and good heart make it a bright and delightful book. Great find.