Where are your SHOES, Mr. Brown? (Book Review)

  • Author: Justin Rhodes
  • Illustrator: Heather Dickinson
  • Publisher: WorthyKids
  • Available Now!
  • Synopsis: “Mr. Brown,” a boy living on a family homestead, enlists his papa’s help in finding his lost shoes.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord…

Psalm 127:3

Spiritual Themes

Although this title isn’t an overtly Christian work, my understanding is that the author is a Christian. Last year, I reviewed his book The Rooted Life, and one commonality I observe between that nonfiction work and this picture book is a strong emphasis on family. In this time period, this is such an important theme, and I so appreciate that the author is setting an example of caring for his family, both in the homesteading lifestyle, and in the books he writes.

This title stands out among other picture books, because, while it tells a cute story for the kiddos, it is also very much directed toward parents. There’s a note at the end of the book where Rhodes talks about making the (sometimes difficult) decision to enjoy quality time with his children, during moments that could otherwise prove frustrating. This is an awesome message for parents, and I could also see this book providing a springboard for discussion between parents and children. I think the different audience emphasis is really neat!


First off, “Mr. Brown” is not a grown man, but a little boy. I also enjoyed reading about why Mr. Brown thought his shoes might be in certain peculiar locations. For instance, he had to check if his shoes were on the roof, because he likes to throw them up there, sometimes. (What?) These made for humorous moments in the story, but also felt perfectly authentic. I’m fairly certain these explanations were based on things that the real Mr. Brown does.

The family interactions, throughout the story, were sweet, too! We see the family enjoying breakfast together, for example, and Mr. Brown’s sister offers him her shoes to wear. Most of all, the story focuses on the father-son interaction between Mr. Brown and his dad as the two hunt for the shoes.


The illustrations, like the narrative, are very sweet. Clearly based on Justin Rhodes, the papa in the story has the same hat and goatee. The farm animals are absolutely adorable, and the style of the artwork feels gentle—perfectly befitting the pastoral setting. I especially liked that we see shoes tucked away in a few of the pictures, making for a fun hidden-object discovery.

Recommendation Status

Where Are Your Shoes, Mr. Brown stands out among picture books, in that the message is very pointedly for parents. I really appreciate that Rhodes’ books emphasize loving, committed family relationships, and that they feature the homestead setting. I live at MeadowArc, a very young food forest, and it’s so cool to read about homesteading!

Recommended as a family read-aloud. Followers of Justin Rhodes’ popular YouTube channel may also take an interest in this cute story.

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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