Choosing Shoes by Frida Wolfe

Choosing Shoes

by Frida Wolfe

New shoes, new shoes,
red and pink and blue shoes,
tell me what would you choose
if they’d let us buy?

Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
pretty pointy-toe shoes,
strappy, cappy, low shoes;
let’s have some to try.

Bright shoes, white shoes,
dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
like some? So would I.


Flat shoes, fat shoes,
stump-along-like-that shoes,
wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
that’s the sort they’ll buy.

My favourite poem when I was a child because I loved shoes.  No change there then!

31 thoughts on “Choosing Shoes by Frida Wolfe

  1. Hi Sally,
    Ffrida Wolfe, appears to be an American journalist writing during the times of the 1st and 2nd World Wars for an american newspaper that I have lost the name of. She also wrote a song for Donovan called Lost Times.
    However the spelling of her name for Choosing Shoes is Frida Wolfe, for Lost Times it is Ffrida Wolfe. Her name when writing for an american newspaper is spelt Frieda Wolffe. She said:
    “[I heard] General Patton addressing these thousands upon thousands of young Americans. Some of them had never seen anything outside their high school. The hardest drink they ever had was a milkshake. He said to these young boys, ‘With your blood and my guts’–I’ll never get over that till the day I die. Your blood and my guts.”–Frieda Wolff
    Link to: for source of the quote above.
    There is a Frida Kohla who was married to a Wolfe, but she is more famously known as a Mexican Artist and not known for writing, she died in 1954.

  2. Hello

    Just read your note above. Trying to find the publishers/copyright holders for the poem choosing shoes by Frida Wolfe.

    Thanks for

  3. This was a favorite of mine from a book we read and read. I have the remains of the book but the cover and any identification are missing. The book is stored in a plastic zip. I thought it was Silver Pennies by Blanche Jennings Thompson in which it was contained. I have found Silver Pennies (Blue Cover) . Does the book I am looking for have a green cover, maybe a part of a set? I have been looking for some time and would love to have a copy.

  4. It was the same for me, a very favourite poem from a compilation of children’s poems. I cannot remember the name of the Book of Compilations the colour of the cover I cannot remember except a vague buff or red. Surely between us all we will find the origins of the poem and the publisher?

    • This poem was included in a children’s poem book called “200 BEST POEMS for BOYS and GIRLS”, compiled by Marjorie Barrows. I would guess your book might have been the same book, as the cover is missing from my childhood book but the title page is still intact. I loved this book as a child, and so did my children.

  5. I was just talking to my husband about how buying shoes had changed since I was a child and lived in another country. I told him about the poem in one of my reading books and decided to look it up. We had to learn Choosing Shoes by heart and we all had a favorite part. “Dandy dance by night shoes” surely brought a smile to my face.

  6. The word Dandy was someone generally a male who was as fussy as his dressing as a female. So it does make one wonder of the variety of people the Poet was thinking of when she wrote her poem.

  7. Lovely to see this Poem up my mother used to say it to us when we were young , I in turn said it to my chrildren and had forgotten some of it so it was good to get all the words and now I am saying it to my grandchild

  8. I remember learning that poem when I was 8 years old at school. I remember this poem word for word to this day and i am now 43.

  9. I still remember what the poem is really all about…..It´s about being a kid and seeing all the fancy shoes that grown-ups may wear and that you sooo badly want, but because you are a child and still growing, “they” the parents buy you all the flat, fat and ugly looking shoes…..I have repeated this poem to all my children who are all over the age of 18 and the 4 of them still ask me to recite the poem when we are all together….brings back so many memories

  10. I have been searching for this poem for years! Never thought to Google it – maybe that’s why I started in Class 3B at age eight! My teacher was Mrs Carney & Shoes stayed with me. I am now 72 years old & still very fond of poetry, particularly anthologies. My favourite at present is When I am old I shall wear PURPLE.

  11. I loved this poem as a child. My mom said I picked out my own shoes while I was still in a baby coach. When my daughter was small I had the poem written up in calligraphy and framed for her room. In church this morning our minister mentioned that The Wizard of Oz was her favorite movie growing up, partly because she loves shoes, so I got out a copy of the poem and emailed it to her.

  12. I used to love reciting this poem to my parents and friends when I was a child in the 1950’s. I remembered it as being written by Christina Rossetti but haven’t been able to locate it under her name. Looks like my memory has played tricks and the poem was actually written by Freida Wolfe.

    • I am so happy to locate this poem after learning it 80 years ago. My mother read it to me as a little girl. I thought Edward Lear wrote it. What joy!

  13. I am also glad to find this, it was my favourite poem from primary school days. I could only remember the first two verses, good to be able to have all the verses now

  14. This was my favorite poem when I was young and I think of it often. So wonderful seeing it here. Brings back such pleasant memories.

  15. WoW!!! I learned this poem as a 2nd (or 3rd) grader in primary school in Ghana, West Africa, and still remember most of it. I’m now a 43 yr old man. Came across this while researching poem books to read to my baby daughter. Thank you for posting!

  16. I memorized this poem when I was a child in the late 1930s I always had to wear brown or black oxfords and I dreamed of pretty shoes . Now that i am in my 80s I am back to black oxfords but I did have a wonderful time for years enjoying attractive shoes. I know every word of it yet today but I never thought of googling to find out the author until now.

    • Julianne what a lovely memory, thank you for sharing it. I loved it too and my parents kept every book we ever owned and yet I couldn’t find this little poetry book among their bookcases. I have now purchased a book from Abebooks 200 Best Poems for Boys and Girls compiled by Marjorie Barrows published by Whitman Publishing in 1930 and again in 1938 because it has this poem in it. I would love to know about Frieda Wolfe but have not been able to find out much about her. I did find a Frieda Wolfe she was a journalist and whether the same person who wrote the poem, I do not know.

  17. My memory is of going to the library as a child around 1970 and heading straight for the place on the shelf in the children’s area where this book was. I remember it as a small book with just the one poem, and I devoured the illustrations as much as the words. I haven’t been able to find it as its own book, so perhaps my memory doesn’t reflect the reality. It also may have been a different early readers childrens book about shoes, and I still have the collection of poems that includes New Shoes.

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