The Sandal Artist by Kathleen T. Pelley is a heart-warming book with a good Christian message. And it is a Christian book, even if it’s not clear from the blurb on GoodReads or Amazon.
Roberto is a young artist who makes just enough money to feed himself but is determined to become great. He only paints lovely, wonderful, graceful things, refusing to paint the village children, the local man and his donkey or the beggar woman when they ask. One day, though, when he takes his shoes to the cobbler to be repaired, the cobbler gives him a pair of sandals to wear for the day, warning him. “There are some who say that if you wear another man’s shoes, you will see the world with his eyes and feel it with his heart. So keep your eyes and heart open wide, my boy. Who knows what secrets you may find?” Walking in the sandals, Roberto sees the beauty in all the people he encounters, sees how lovable each of them is. He does become a famous artist, but it was by seeing the beauty in everything and that everyone he met shined like the sun.
The sandals, of course, belonged to Christ and the message is that we should see everyone through eyes of love like he did. The author’s website has some nice teaching resources that go along with the book, discussing what makes a person great and how we and others can shine like the sun. Next time I substitute teach Sunday school for the elementary kids, I’ll probably use this story and the guides as my lesson.
The story is gentle and simple, but conveys its message well. The illustrations by Lois Rosio Sprague are full of rich colors and truly feel like paintings themselves, with brush strokes and colors layered on top of each other. It really is a lovely book.
4 out of 5 stars
Category: Picture book – Christian
Published February 22, 2012 by Pelican Publishing
Book source: Won from Curiosity City DPW