Oy Vey! Life in a Shoe

Oy Vey! Life in a Shoe

By Bonnie Grubman

Illustrated by David Mottram


Jacketed Hardcover, 32pp, $17.95

Follow Lou as he appeals to the Rabbi for answers on how to solve his overcrowding problem!

A contemporary mash-up of the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe with the traditional Jewish folktale about a family getting unexpected wisdom from the Rabbi, this high-energy adventure is chock-full of animals, kids, humor, whimsy and silliness. Mottram’s illustrations add another level of fun as the animals wear Lou’s glasses, gnaw on the furniture, and add to the clutter and mischief. 

About the Author

Bonnie Grubman is an early childhood educator and author. She grew up with her parents, brother and sister, pet turtles, and parakeet. (It was almost as crowded as a shoe!) Today, Bonnie lives in New York with her husband Herby.

About the Illustrator

David Mottram has always wanted to be an illustrator. As a child, he drew pictures until there was no paper left . . . and then he would draw on grocery bags! Today, he illustrates children’s books and will occasionally draw on his daughter’s lunch bags, too. He lives with his family in Ohio in a house slightly larger than a shoe.

About Apples & Honey Press

Apples & Honey Press brings together the best authors and illustrators from North America and Israel to create memorable stories for children that illuminate the values of family, community, having fun, and being the best we can be.

Reviews for Oy Vey! Life in a Shoe:

Category: Picture Books

"A fresh take on an often told but very funny story, and the shoe is a clever addition."
Kirkus Reviews

"A classic rhyme combined with a beloved Jewish tale, 15 Greenbaums live in the proverbial shoe. The parents, Lou and his (un-named) wife, have twelve sons and a baby daughter Maxine. Overall, the family seems noisy and generally content. But Lou feels crowded and says, "Oy vey, it's loud and much too tight." He takes his wife's advice and goes to the Rabbi, who tells him to bring the chickens into the house. When things get worse, Lou returns to the Rabbi, who says they need three goats inside: "Ask me no questions and do what I say. You don't need to worry. Now go on your way." When the goats prove annoying, Lou returns to the Rabbi, who tells him to add a pair of geese. When the flying geese only add to the chaos, he goes back to the Rabbi a final time. The advice is obvious: "Take all of the animals out of the shoe. They don't belong inside there with you." In the end, all is well — "just singing and laughing, kvelling too, and a baby playing peek-a-boo. Yelling, jumping, a snoring wife, with love in the shoe it's a bustling life."
"The illustrations contain some small Jewish touches (The Rabbi's house is built of books and he wears a kipah; there are Hebrew blocks and a Tzedekah (charity) box. It should be a fun read for preschoolers."
AJL Reviews

"Oy Vey! Life in a Shoe is a poetic narrative adaptation of a classic Jewish folk tale about enlightenment through overcrowding. Hilarious with sly, tongue in cheek humor, the story is told through lilting, relentless rhyme. Lou is a good Jewish husband with a wife and 12 children who all live together in a shoe. Lou's is grumpy because of the noise of 12 sons and one daughter, and the crowded living quarters. One day, Lou's wife urged him to go to the rabbi to ask him to help him find some peace in his life. Lou does this quite respectfully, according to tradition. The rabbi, who is a very learned and well read man, gives Lou some strange advice, telling him to add chickens, goats, and geese to stay in his shoe house. Finally Lou can bear no more crowding and noise. In tears, he begs the rabbi to help him once again. "We've been chasing goats the whole night through. My nerves are shot and the shoe is stinking. Rabbi or not, what were you thinking?" This time the rabbi smiles and says: "Ask me no questions and do as I say. Your troubles will change for the better today. Take all the animals out of the shoe. They don't belong inside there with you." The result, while comical, is also profound: The father becomes content and happy with his many offspring and busy life: "Singing and laughing, kvelling too, and a baby playing peek-a-boo. Yelling, jumping, a snoring wife; with love in the shoe it's a bustling life!"
Midwest Book Review