Abukacha’s Shoes by Tamar Tessler

Everyone, it seems, knows Abukacha because he has enormous feet.

One day, he makes the decision to get rid of his old, worn-out, dirty shoes. But whenever (and however) he throws the shoes out, they find their way back to him. When the garbage collector finds a huge pair of shoes in the garbage can, he exclaims, “Those must be Abukacha’s shoes”. Figuring they were thrown out by mistake, he returns them to Abukacha’s doorstep. This happens four times in this Polish folklore that has been re-told time and again by the author’s family.

When Abukacha tosses the shoes in the sea, a fisherman happily brings them back. The shoes won’t stay hidden in a deep well or go away on a hot air balloon ride; the shoes return to the sender just like a boomerang does. Abukacha’s feelings toward his shoes change as the story goes on though. Annoyance turns to longing when his shoes don’t return right away. So when the shoes do return, that “gnawing at his heart” motivates him to find a permanent place for his shoes at his home. I have nothing but praise for the way this story was told, both in words and pictures.

 

 

 

The story is set in a community where seemingly unexplainable things happen, and the characters are photographs of the author’s grandmother’s Polish family (many who perished in the Holocaust). Back material includes an author’s note and a quote that inspired the making of this remarkable book. I would read this book to children in kindergarten through to grade 3 classes. But it’s a book that adults can easily enjoy too. This is Tamar Tessler’s first book; she is one of those authors I will be keeping track of so I don’t miss her next book.

If you would like to win this picture book, be the first person to email me ([email protected]) one of your family’s most treasured recipes.