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July 29, 2006

Kidlit 9: Ballet Shoes

Blogathon 2006

Another that makes me squeal with glee and scare any customers who happen to pick it up while I'm working at the bookstore. Noel Streatfeild was a British writer who wrote a whole series of "shoes" books. Each one featured a family of chidren who were involved in one of the performing arts: Dancing Shoes, Skating Shoes, Circus Shoes, Theatre Shoes, etc. They're all good, but Ballet Shoes are my favorite. It involves an eccentric rich British guy who collected orphaned babies along with other artifacts of his travels and sends them home to be raised by his niece and her household of eccentric boarders. (Yeah, there's a lot of eccentricity floating around in these books.) He goes missing, and therefore their source of funds is cut off, so the three girls go to a dancing-based school in hopes of being able to support themselves as child performers. The oldest has success as an actress, and the youngest is a dancing prodigy, but the middle girl actually wants to be a pilot or mechanic. It's a quirky book, but very, very good.

Posted by Kat at July 29, 2006 05:31 PM

Have you read other Noel Streatfields, like Apple Bough? A family of Prodigies, Boy plays (?)violin to concert standard, girl does ballet brilliantly, oldest sister 'just' keeps the family together.... our heroine.

Then there were 'Thursday's child' and 'Far to go', about a foundling becoming an actress (as I remember), with a matron of an orphanage as her deadly enemy.


Posted by: Ginny at July 29, 2006 05:45 PM

And you score nostalgia points again! I loved the shoes books, but my favorite was also Ballet Shoes. I loved how the girls' took the last name Fossil to go with the old guy's collections. :)

Next thing you're going to be telling me you also loved Elizabeth Enright's "The Saturdays", "The Four-Story Mistake", "Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze", etc. :)

Posted by: Jen at July 29, 2006 05:53 PM

This was one of my favorite books in elementary school. I don't know how many times I took it out, but I remember that it was a yellowed hard cover.

I'm not a huge fan of "You've Got Mail," but I do love the scene in the box store when the patron asks for help finding "Ballet Shoes." I was practically jumping out of my seat with the requested information and with excitement at the fact that they were talking about it. Yes, I am that geeky.

FWIW (and tangentially), I spent a few months working at a big box book seller and found the employees to be a knowledgeable bunch who were eager to suggest new things for you to read. I didn't find customers (with the exception of grandparents buying for grandchildren far away) as receptive as I would have liked them to be. Could be a general statement about such customers or maybe just a statement about the customers in the greater-North Haven, CT, area. I have had some great conversations with fellow customers at my favorite D.C. bookshop, though.

Posted by: sprite at July 29, 2006 05:54 PM

I remember reading that to you - but it was in this house, so it must have been just for fun (because you could read when we moved here).

Posted by: Dad at July 29, 2006 06:32 PM

I loved those Shoe books! I bought them for Rachel but she didn't like them much. And The Saturdays! Dang it, I've got to pull out my old kidlit books.

Posted by: Carrie K at July 29, 2006 11:31 PM

I've heard of this series but not yet managed to read any.

Posted by: mrspao at July 30, 2006 04:26 AM

I loved this book so much! They were all great, but as you say, this was the best. I made the cover of mine fall off with overreading :-(

Posted by: Jenni at July 30, 2006 01:04 PM
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