Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ballet Shoes hits 75!

One of my all time favourite books -- Ballet Shoes by Noel Streafeild has hit 75. Penguin  has just released a special 75th edition.
As a child I loved the story of the Fossils -- Pauline Petrova and Posy and the way they go to stage school. I think I read all the Shoe books that my local library had. I loved the world Streatfeild created. I suspect all of the shoe books contributed to my love of England and eventually helped me make the decision to come over here for my Junior Year Abroad.
However,  the true reason I remain in Streafeild's debt is her in valuible advice on afternoon rest periods. When I read the book to my children, my eldest was about 7, my daughter 4 and my youngest 2. It was during the summer holidays. The squabbling reached a cresendo and then I read about afternoon rest periods and how the Fossils spent an hour on their beds each afternoon, reading. I implemented this straight away. The children didn't need to sleep but they did have to stay on their beds. Amazingly, it cut the squabbling down to nothing. It allowed they all to get some rest.
They all needed a time out. It also helped develop a love of reading that remains to today.
My daughter tells me that they used to play games with the timer.
As my youngest wasn't  sleeping very well, I used to rest as well.
You do not know how much of a lifesaver this was.
There are also many great ideas in the book like having children learn Shakespeare. And showing that children can contribute to a household. Equally that stage and dance is a lot of hard work. You do have to be dedicated. I loved the detailed descriptions of everything worked.
I think my favourite Streatfeild heroine was Rachel from Dancing Shoes who over comes a wicked aunt and spoilt cousin to become the lead in a movie version of A Secret Garden (another favourite book of mine). The Streafeild books had different names in the US to take advantage of the huge popularity of Ballet Shoes.
If you haven't encountered Ballet Shoes, do.
So what was your favourite Straetfeild book/heroine?


Ros said...

I think you may be mixing the books up. It was Jane in A Painted Garden who took the lead role in a film of The Secret Garden and she didn't have either a wicked aunt or a spoilt cousin. She had a brother who was a pianist and a sister who had some other talent (dancing?). Wikipedia tells me this was called Movie Shoes in the US.

Rachel with the aunt and the cousin was indeed in Dancing Shoes (or Wintle's Wonders in the UK).

Michelle Styles said...

Ros --
I am checking with my sister as my niece is a huge fan of Straetfeild.
I have read Movie Shoes and no, I don't think I am mixing them up. When Rachel does the audition, she remembers what it was like to be an orphan and acts beuatifully. She does it because her cousin Dulcie is busy being horrid and the director can't stand her. And then it comes out who her parents were...Anyway, it has been a long time since I read them. So I may be remembering wrong.
I vaguely recall being sort of surprised that in Movie Shoes, it was A Secret Garden again. I liked Movie Shoes because you get to meet Posy as a grown up.They also had to leave their dog when they went to LA because otherwise it would have had to have gone into quarentine.
Anyway I am trying to check and it could be that Straetfeild was guilty of repetition...