My Big Feet
By Joan L. Kelly
Reviewed by Lisa M. Hendey
Bezalel Books, P.O. Box 300427, Waterford, MI 48330, 248-917-3865, $6.99
July, 2007; Paperback, 91 pages
ISBN: # 0979497639 or 978-0979497636
My ranking: 5 stars (of 5)
Adolescence can be a tumultuous time in life ´" bodies are changing, minds are developing, and self-consciousness is at an all time high. Kids between the ages of nine and twelve have a tendency to balance precariously on the tightrope between childlike and adult behaviors. Society´s role models offer mixed messages for what is truly valuable in this life. That´s why, as a parent of a twelve year old son, I am thrilled when a book such as My Big Feet by Joan L. Kelly comes along.
My Big Feet shares the story of Rob Sanderson and his group of friends, a quirky bunch who march to the beat of their own drummer. Rob, a normal kid in every aspect of life except for his monstrously big feet, is the natural leader of the group. His friends are the brilliant one, the horse-obsessed one, the new kid, and others who have been marginalized by the popular kids at school.
´These five eighth graders got along quite well because they did not make demands of each other, and they accepted each other for who they were.´
From an early age, with the support and encouragement of his ´Grams´, Rob learns to accept and embrace his differences. He grows up to become someone who embraces and accepts diversity, with strong self-esteem and a true compassion for others.
My Big Feet is not just a story of acceptance, but also a fun adventure tale. When the new girl Isabel moves into town, Rob and his buddies have the opportunity to become true heroes. Rob´s kid sister Bridget, a master of disguises, even gets in on the act. Spies take hostage Isabel and her parents on the eve of Isabel´s birthday dance, to which the whole eighth grade class has been invited. Rob and his gang must figure out a way to pool their unique, God-given talents to save the day.
My Big Feet ends with a wonderful twist, which underscores the book´s message of embracing each person as a unique individual and following God´s calling in each of our lives. First time author and educator Joan L. Kelly shows a true affinity for both storytelling and the ability to slyly deliver a moral. To support the books´ mission, Kelly has prepared a comprehensive study guide for teachers wishing to use this book in their classrooms. This guide includes comprehension questions for each chapter, vocabulary words, games, puzzles and more.
I would recommend My Big Feet for readers ages eight through eleven who are interested in a fun adventure tale. Parents and teachers will want to take the opportunity to share discussions with their children and students on the topics of diversity, acceptance of others and facing life´s obstacles with courage. I sincerely hope that Joan L. Kelly will share her voice and gifts with young readers again in the future. These are the types of stories we all need to be sharing.