Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
Buy from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 97
    Previous Book
    Next Book

Young Adult Fiction
        Previous Book
        Next Book

Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books

2005 Stand-outs
    Previous Book
    Next Book

2004 Stand-outs
2003 Stand-outs
2002 Stand-outs
2001 Stand-outs

Five-Star Books
    Previous Book
    Next Book

Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Why Read?
Children and Books
Links For Book Lovers
Book Discussion Forum

About Me
Contact Me
Make a Donation

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****Best Foot Forward

by Joan Bauer

Reviewed July 13, 2005.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2005.  183 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F BAU).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#2, Young Adult Contemporary Fiction)

Hooray!  Joan Bauer has written a sequel to her wonderful Rules of the Road, my favorite of her books next to Hope Was Here, which won a Newbery Honor Award.  (A huge thank you to Dr. Davis for recommending Rules of the Road to me, as I think that was the first I’d heard of Joan Bauer.)

Joan Bauer specializes in characters with passion.  She also tells stories of people doing small things in a big way and about standing up for what’s right.  But don’t think that all that moral high ground and wisdom make for a boring story.  Jenna Boller’s passion is shoes, and giving people a better life by making their feet comfortable.

I’m afraid there’s something inherently humorous about someone with a passion for shoes.

Joan Bauer’s books give you characters to care about, but they also give you plots that keep you turning pages.  In Rules of the Road, Jenna watched as her mentor Mrs. Gladstone didn’t give up on the company her family had made great, and was installed as Gladstone’s new Director of Quality Control.  They were assured that Gladstone’s would always stand for quality.  So why was Jenna’s new pair of Rollings Walkers hurting her feet?

Then, in an act reminiscent of Les Miserables, Mrs. Gladstone gives a job to a young man who tried to steal shoes from the store.  It doesn’t help that this young man is good-looking and sweet to his little brother.  Jenna doesn’t want to be his manager.

Jenna deals with all this with grace and humor.  I came away from this book feeling inspired.  As Jenna says, “Some people say there should be more to life—more money, more prestige.  I don’t think much about that.  I just try to focus in full on the person’s two feet in front of me.”

Reviews of other books by Joan Bauer:
Stand Tall

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-