A Pair of Red Clogs is Masako Matsuno’s first book for children, written in 1960. A grandmother, looking for a box to send a new pair of clogs to her granddaughter, finds an old pair of cracked red wooden clogs in her storeroom.
The grandmother remembers how excited she was when, as a child the age her granddaughter is now, her mother bought her a brand new pair of red clogs. Soon after, the clogs had a crack in them as a result of a game she played. She wanted a new pair and decided to make the old pair so dirty that her mother would want to buy her another pair. As she shuffled the clogs through the mud, she began thinking about how this was really telling a lie.
The story examines the little girl’s feelings of shame and regret at having tried to trick her mother. Should she tell her mother she had done so? Is lying wrong? Is it always wrong? Why did she keep the shoes for so many years? Did what she did change her relationship with her family? Can we still trust someone if they have once lied to us?