The Secret of the Tattered Shoes by Jackie Morris and Ehsan Abdollahi

The fairy tale of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ has recently inspired a variety of versions which promote female agency, notably The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton and Angela Barrett, a previous CLPE book of the week and now this latest picturebook in Tiny Owl’s ‘One Story, Many Voices’ series. Here Jackie Morris and Ehsan Abdollahi have rendered the woman, who advises the soldier and gifts him a cloak of invisibility, as much younger than the one in the tale as told by the Brothers Grimm, with consequences for the conclusion, affirmed in the final endpapers. The soldier’s reasoning for his decision gives food for thought and depth to the meaning of the story. Ehsan Abdollahi’s distinctive collage and mixed media pictures depict a soldier with sad eyes and a world weary facial expression and princesses with a variety of skin tones, whose story is set amongst a pattern of flowers, fruit, feathers and foliage.

For more versions and background to the story of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses' see here.

Tiny Owl 9781910328378