I don't know how I missed this one-- I read most of the shoes books when I was a kid, and have reviewed a couple here before. If you missed them too, they are all about kids who either want careers (mostly in the arts) or are just involved in arts. They have been out of print in the USA off and on, maybe for being old-fashioned, but seem to be coming back into print now, at least for a while. The characterization, energy, sense of humor, and realistic depiction of what it feels like to be very young and passionate about a technically demanding art or sport make them hold up well, at least to me.

Ballet Shoes is the most famous one, with the three adopted sisters who vow to get their name in the history books. Ballet dancer Posy was clearly Streatfeild's favorite, but aspiring pilot Petrova was mine.

Skating Shoes was one of my favorites, and I have a review of it tagged by author. I also really liked the movie-making one for its characters and glimpse of early Hollywood, Movie Shoes (The Painted Garden in the UK.)

There's also Tennis Shoes, Theater Shoes, Party Shoes (Oxford Children's Classics), and non-shoe books.

In Dancing Shoes, when two sisters are orphaned and taken in by their aunt –who happens to run a dance company called Mrs. Wilson’s Little Wonders – Rachel is miserable: she hates dancing, she’s convinced that the Little Wonder dancing will ruin her talented sister Hilary for the ballet career she thinks their mother wanted her to have, and Hilary loves being a Little Wonder as much as Rachel hates it. Rachel drags herself through tap lessons and schemes to get Hilary back on track for her future as a ballerina.

Against a very funny skewering of a type of troupe – and stage mother -- that Streatfeild was clearly all too familiar with, Rachel’s angst is treated seriously. The conclusion involves an unlikely and spectacular big break, but the quieter resolution to Rachel’s dilemma regarding Hilary’s future is realistic and emotionally satisfying.
rachelmanija: (OTP LA: palm trees)
( Sep. 1st, 2009 03:28 pm)
This was visible from my neighborhood yesterday, looking just like this:


(My neighborhood is in no conceivable danger, or at least not from forest fire.)

It's cooling off, comparatively speaking, and the historic and still important Mt. Wilson Observatory will be OK should things continue in the direction they currently seem to be headed. But it's still damn hot, the air quality is terrible, and the light is a deep tawny shade that makes me feel as if I'm living in a sepia flashback.

I'm fleeing to Santa Barbara for a couple days, but will be back Friday for the last day of Clementine's Friday summer BBQs (www.clementineonline.com) since I somehow missed them for the entire summer.

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