The Secret of the Tattered Shoes

Are you looking for a fairytale to get lost in? Are you looking to share a lesser-known fairytale with your little ones?

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes, by Jackie Morris & Ehsan Abdollahi is an enchanting retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ The Worn Out Dancing Shoes (or The Twelve Dancing Princesses).

I did not know this fairytale before receiving this book, so went to my version of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brother’s Grimm, translated by Jack Zipes, to read it before I dove into The Secret of the Tattered Shoes.

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes tells the story of a king who is continuously flummoxed by the worn out shoes he finds beside his twelve daughters’ beds each night. Although many men have tried to discover what they have been up to, the princesses continue to trick the king until a soldier, with little left to live for, tells the king he would like to solve the mystery. He follows them one night, veiled under a invisibility cloak given to him by a woman in the woods, to an underground palace where he sees them happily dancing the night away with twelve princes. After 3 days, when the king questions the soldier, the soldier shows the king evidence he has collected and says the king should ask his daughters what they have been up to. He refuses to accept the king’s reward of a daughter to marry and happily returns to the woods to start a new life.

There are a few notable differences between this retelling, and the original Grimm’s version, but to be honest I like The Secret of the Tattered Shoes better. It helps that the illustrations accompanying the beautiful prose are intricate and charming all on their own. To me they appear puppet like and remind me of images you would see from Ancient Greece. The richness of the paper, the dark color palette, and the way the metal objects on the page almost shimmer, draws you in to this enchanting world.

The publisher, Tiny Owl, generally has amazing teacher notes and activities for their books. For The Secret of the Tattered Shoes they are coming soon, so I would definitely check back. This book is part of their #onestorymanyvoices collection featuring retellings of traditional stories from around the world.

This is one of my favorite books that I have received this year. Thank you Publisher Spotlight for sending us our copy!

You can find this book on my Bookshop Shop on, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores by making a donation every time a book is purchased on their site.

*Links may be affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission if you order through a link, which allows me to continue to buy new books to review.*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s