Sally Pomme Clayton, illus. Rhiannon Sanderson
Based on a traditional tale from India and Bangladesh, this picturebook tells an imaginative tale about the invention of shoes. The king is shocked to find his feet still dirty when he steps out of the river. His servant is given the thankless task of solving the problem and is unsuccessful. Fortunately, a resourceful citizen saves the day!
Beautifully related by a skilled storyteller with patterned language and repetition this is an amusing and attractive picturebook, which would be great to read aloud.
Before beginning the story look at the title and the cover illustration together and talk about what might happen in this story. Read the story aloud allowing time to look at the illustrations and talk about them.
Once children are familiar with the story you can invite them to join in with the counting, the repetitions ‘sweep, sweep’, ‘splosh splosh’, ‘stitch, stitch’ and the exclamation ‘Zut!’
Talk about the story
Look back at the illustrations together, talk about all the things happening in the opening spread, spot the monkey on most pages and the old man watching Gabu’s failed attempts to keep the king’s feet clean.
What might the people in the palace (or his pet monkey) have thought about the King and his smelly feet? Look at the illustrations for clues.
Talk about things Gabu could have tried to keep the king’s feet clean.
Talk about when it is nice to have bare feet – eg on a beach, in a paddling pool or on cool grass in the summer perhaps. And also why people wear shoes – is it just to keep feet clean.