by Karen Lewis (Canada)
illustrated by Kelly Dorman
Once upon a time there was a little black and white kitten named Wendy, who didn’t want to be a puss in boots. “I’m tired of wearing boots all the time,” she told her mother. “I want shoes, red ones. They would match my jumper.”
Wendy had first seen the shoes she wanted, in a shop window on her way to school. They were a lovely shade of cherry red, with shiny black soles and silver buckles. But her mother would not listen. “A nice pair of new black boots will wear longer and be warmer in winter,” she stated firmly. “And you can even step in puddles with them.”
But Wendy didn’t care about any of that. All she knew was that she wanted those pretty red shoes, more than she had ever wanted anything else. And although she had been saving up her pocket money for months, she still didn’t have nearly enough to buy them.
“Maybe if you’re really good and help with the dishes and everything, she’ll change her mind,” suggested her friend Jill, a cheerful orange kitten.
However, Wendy wasn’t sure about that at all. Her mother had been very definite about those horrid old boots. But nevertheless, she followed Jill’s advice and as well as helping wash and dry the dishes, she tidied up her room and even mopped the bathroom floor.
And every day, on her way to and from school, she would stand in front of the shoe shop window and gaze at the perfect red shoes for a very long time. They were just the right size too, for one day she had plucked up enough courage to go into the shop and ask.
“Would you like to try them on?” the nice lady had asked. And Wendy had fairly trembled with excitement as the lovely shoes had slipped so easily onto her feet. Then she had looked in the mirror, turning this way and that admiring the shoes and how good they felt. And she never wanted to take them off again.
But although she pleaded with her mother to change her mind about the boots, it was all in vain. “You’re going to be a puss in boots, not in red shoes,” she had replied in her sternest voice.
Then one day as Wendy arrived as usual at the shop window to gaze at the shoes; she was horrified to find them gone.
“They’re not there anymore, someone must have bought them,” she wailed to Jill, who did everything she could to console her.
“Perhaps it was your mother?” she suggested. “Maybe she changed her mind and bought them for you as a surprise?”
“Gosh, do you think maybe…?” Wendy replied, brightening at the thought, and she could hardly wait for the bell to ring, so she could hurry home and see.
However, there were no pretty red shoes waiting for her when she arrived, breathless from having run all the way. But there was a sensible looking pair of black boots with heavy soles and laces.
“Oh no,” Wendy sobbed, swishing her tail in disappointment. Where, she wondered, were the lovely red shoes?
And the next day at school she found out. For there was another kitty, a sleek little Siamese named Zoë, traipsing around the playground wearing them.
“Oh don’t take on so,” Jill said, patting Wendy’s arm. She hated to see her best friend so unhappy. “Things are going to work out, you’ll see.”
“How?” Wendy sobbed. “I’m never going to have the red shoes now…not ever.” And she kicked at the school wall with the sturdy black boots.
Then a few days later she noticed that Zoë was no longer wearing the red shoes. “They pinched my toes,” she explained. “And the shop won’t take them back, ‘cause they’ve been worn.”
“Can I buy them from you?” Wendy asked excitedly. “I do have some pocket money saved up. Would your Mom agree?”
So it was that Wendy finally had the red shoes that she had wanted for so long. And she purred her pleasure every time that she wore them.
“They do look good on you honey,” her mother admitted, but she was determined to get the last word about the boots. “They’ll come in handy for wet or snowy days,” she insisted.
And so they did. For the very last thing that Wendy wanted was to ruin her beautiful red shoes by wearing them in bad weather.
“A Puss in Boots Wants Red Shoes” Copyright © 2006 by Karen Lewis
Illustrations Copyright © 2006 by Kelly Dorman
All Rights Reserved