Author: Noel Streatfeild
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Date Finished: 31 Jan 2009
My Rating: 4 Stars
Challenges: RYOB, 100+, Decades, New Author
I think Noel Streatfeild is on the way to becoming one of my favorite authors. In addition to Ballet Shoes, which I read earlier this year, I am currently reading her adult novel Saplings and thoroughly enjoying it. I spent a good amount of time browsing ebay and used book sellers in an attempt to track down more of her books since the vast majority of this very prolific author's books are out of print. I am only kicking myself for taking so long to start reading Streatfeild's work.
In Ballet Shoes we meet Pauline, Petrova and Posy. Pauline was orphaned after being the only survivor from a shipwrecked boat. Petrova is the orphaned child of a Russian couple and Posy was given up by her widowed mother who was a ballet dancer. The three children are picked up and adopted by Matthew, a fossil collector, on his journeys. The girls come to call him Gum, short for Great Uncle Matthew. When Gum leaves for his fossil hunting journeys the girls are taken care of by Gum's great-niece, Sylvia and Nana.
When Gum does not return from one of his journeys Sylvia decides to take in boarders in order to help make ends meet. The boarders that move in bring change and new opportunity for the girls. Doctor Smith and Doctor Jakes take over the girl's education and inspire the girls to make their name really important and their own. The girls make a vow every year to get their names in the history books. "We three Fossils vow to try and put our names in history books because it's our very own and nobody can say it's because of our grandfathers." Another boarder, Theo Dane, is a ballet teacher at The Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training. After seeing Posy dance, she arranges for the head of the school, Madame Fidolia, to train the girls free of charge.
Pauline soon shows talent as an actress, while Posy is clearly a gifted ballerina. Petrova, however, would rather spend time tinkering with cars in the garage and dreams of flying an airplane.
A thoroughly enjoyable book about three girls who are willing to work hard and sacrifice to make their dreams come true. A wonderful story about family relationships and commitment. Set during the depression of the 1930s the reader gets a real since of what life for these girls, working on the stage to help Sylvia pay the bills, would have been like. Another book that I am adding to my list of books to read to my daughter when she gets a little older.
After reading the book I picked up a copy of the DVD at the library. While the movie really is as charming as the book they did take some great liberties with the story line. Some characters were omitted or had their story changed in order to add a love story to the movie.