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Children's Fiction General

Flock of Shoes

by (author) Sarah Tsiang

illustrated by Qin Leng

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2010
General, Beginner
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to k


Abby loves her pink and brown sandals with the lime green trim, and she wears them wherever she goes. But as summer draws to a close, Abby’s mom announces that it’s time for the sandals to go. Abby is determined to keep them on—until one day, while swinging at the park, her sandals flip off and fly away.

All winter long, Abby wonders what her sandals are up to. Postcards of sandy white beaches and glorious sunsets reassure her that they are having a wonderful time in far away places.

Come February, Abby realizes that she has also grown to love her cozy, comfy boots. As the warm weather comes, she watches sadly as they march off, but a swish in the sky announces the return of her pink and brown sandals—all ready for another summer of fun.

Full of whimsy, this circular tale is enhanced by rich, evocative language and delicate pastel illustrations that are sure to delight any young child. 

About the authors

Sarah Tsiang is an award-winning poet as well as a children's book author. Her books with Annick Press include A Flock of Shoes, Dogs Don't Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know, Warriors and Wailers: 100 Anicent Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled, and The Stone Hatchlings. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Sarah Tsiang's profile page

Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of five, she moved with her family to Bordeaux, France, where she spent the next four years. Soon after, she moved to Montreal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Having been born in Asia but raised in the West, she uses both cultures as her source of inspiration. Looking at her illustrations, one can see the presence of both East and West.Qin Leng comes from a family of artists, where the visual senses have always been of the utmost importance. She grew up watching her father work with acrylics, pastel, and ink. Father and daughter often spent their days drawing side by side. Drawing first started as a hobby, but soon became a way of expression.Despite her many years of study to become a biologist, Qin decided at the age of 20 to follow the same path as her father and enrolled in the School of Cinema to study Film Animation at Concordia University. She has produced animated shorts, which were nominated in various nationa

Qin Leng's profile page


  • Short-listed, Book of the Year Award finalist, Foreword Reviews
  • Nominated, Blue Spruce Award nomination, Ontario Library Association
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Commended, Best Bets List for Children, Ontario Library Association

Editorial Reviews

“The art is wonderful … and the text is amazingly and beautifully poetic.”—, 13/10/10

“This imaginative, circular story is not only fun and easily relatable for children between ages two and seven, but a pleasure for parents as well.”—Québec Library Association, 03/11

“Full of whimsy, this circular tale is enhanced by rich, evocative language and delicate illustrations that are sure to delight any young child.”—Whom You Know, 04/29/15

“This whimsical tale is sure to beguile anyone who has ever outgrown a much-loved pair of shoes.”—Kirkus Reviews, 11/10

“Tsiang’s text is a delight to read, with a gentle poetic rhythm. Highly recommended.”—Resource Links, 12/10

“… Tsiang’s simple yet evocative language will engage young listeners … Leng’s depiction of Abby’s world … is magical.”—CM Reviews, 11/10

“Both the words and story are pure magic.”-—, 11/14/10

“... (a) great Canadian not-to-be-missed children's book ...”—, 1/26/12

“The writing ... is spare, lyrical and delightfully funny, and is a perfect match for the whimsical and warm watercolour illustrations.”—, 12/10/11

“This amusing tale that finally explains where shoes go in the off season is great fun.”—School Library Journal, 03/11

“The writing in A Flock of Shoes is spare, lyrical and delightfully funny, and is a perfect match for the whimsical and warm watercolour illustrations.”—, 02/01/12

“This is possibly the first picture book on shoe migration, an idea that imaginative children will find nearly believable and wholly satisfying.”—Booklist, 10/10

“Sarah Tsiang does a wonderful job depicting just how connected a child can be with a piece of clothing and Quin Leng’s watercolour illustrations compliment the warmth of the story. The story of summer shoes needing to go away somewhere warm is a delightful way to look at seasonal items.”—, 11/03/10

“This whimsical story filled with charming watercolors will warm the hearts of small children while teaching them a valuable lesson.”—ForeWord Reviews, 2/11

“This glorious and whimsical book … would be a lovely gift for all the little “Abbys” in your life and of course all their mothers (and fathers too!).”—Word of Mouse Book Reviews, 07/10

“We all found this story … adorable. [It] is an endearing read for any child 2-6.”—, 14/10/10

“This is a fun and engaging story, touched with humour and a lot of magic.”—Canadian Children’s Book News, Spring 2011

Librarian Reviews

A Flock of Shoes

Abby loves her pink and brown sandals with the lime-green trim. They are perfect for so many things, especially for making small heart tracks in the sand. When fall comes, Abby is still wearing them. But one day Abby swings so high that her sandals flip off her feet and join a flock of shoes to fly south. At first she is sad, but soon Abby begins to love her white and blue boots with the purple trim. They are perfect for so many things, especially for making squiggle and square tracks in the snow. One warm spring day, Abby hears the whistle of a north-bound train, and her boots run off and hop onto a boxcar. Now what will Abby do? Then she hears the swish of flying sandals. Could they be...?

This is a fun and engaging story, touched with humour and a lot of magic. The language is simple and spare, rich and evocative, making the story a delight to read aloud. There is also a wonderful parallelism and circularity to the story. Leng’s watercolour illustrations are whimsical, full of detail and overflowing with a child’s sense of wonder and imagination. Children will love the postcards Abby receives from her sandals, as well as the snapshots of what the sandals have been doing while away. And of course, after Abby’s boots head north, one wonders whether they will have the courtesy to do the same.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2011. Volume 34 No. 2.

A Flock of Shoes

Abby loves her pink-and-brown sandals and wears them everywhere until one day they flip off her feet and head south for the winter. It’s not until February that she falls in love with her white-and-blue boots, but come spring, they board the north-bound train for the summer. As Abby sits and waves sadly to her beloved boots she hears a swish!

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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