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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
My Shoebox, written by Laura Fleming and illustrated by David Gnass, is a children's picture book that revolves around a child and the special birthday shoebox he received. The book begins at a birthday party where a small child is gifted with an empty shoebox that everyone seems to be pretty excited about. Each birthday after the box has something added to it, and one day the child is big enough to reach up and take the box down from the safety of its shelf. To their surprise and delight, the shoebox contains sports cards depicting famous professional athletes in several different sports. From here, the child imagines themselves as a professional athlete, bonding with family and friends who also collect sports cards as the child grows up.
It has been well over twenty-five years since I last set eyes on a sports card and the nostalgia of them came flooding back as I read My Shoebox with my youngest child. She scrunched her nose as I described chalky gum inside vibrant Topps packaging. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area when the Oakland A's and Giants duked it out is not a feeling that translates to my British daughter. Laura Fleming succeeded in sparking a conversation that would not have otherwise occurred. The writing is accessible and entertaining, and the growing excitement of the child transcends the page. David Gnass breathes life into the story with illustrations that are simple but striking, with muted primary colors and an ambiguity of characters that show how sports card collecting has no gender. This book is an absolute delight to readers who know of and collect sports cards, those who fondly remember them, and the generation of kids who are not quite as exposed but eager to learn about it.