Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

When I saw ABC Television would screen The Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild I knew I wanted to re-read this childhood classic before the screening. This is the book Meg Ryan talked about in “You’ve got mail” when her exquisite book store “The shop around the corner” has been closed.

My copy of this book is very old and the print size is far too small for the modern reader and yet I do feel the story does pass the test of time.

The three girls, unrelated, living in the home of Gum (Great Uncle Matthew) and Sylvia are lucky that the borders who come to live in this large rambling house can each add a special magic to their destinies. There is a dancing teacher (perfect for Posy), two retired academics (who can train Pauline) and a motor enthusiast (so Petrova can pursue her passion).

I read this book when I was a child because I wanted to read Ballet stories but I have to say this is not really a book about ballet, rather it is about the whole range of perfoming arts including drama and recitation and it is a story about growing up and finding talents.

I did enjoy the BBC production especially after such a recent re-reading of the novel I could see the way they adapted the plot to include all the major incidents in a nicely paced story.

You can read more about Noel Streatfeild and other productions of this book and a little of the history of this writer who won the Carnegie Medal.

I did find the ending very disappointing because this time I really wanted a sequel. Thinking the story might continue I have just read Ballet Shoes for Anna but it is a totally unrealated story except for the references to ballet. This is the last book written by Noel Streatfeild who died in 1986. This second story does make a good read but the dialogue annoyed me. Her attempts at writing broken English were not very successful. Middle Primary readers would enjoy Ballet shoes for Anna even though the ending is predictable the story has so much tension and this makes the plot move along very quickly. If you thought the Dursleys were horrible to Harry Potter you need to meet The Uncle - Cecil - he is totally horrible!

1 comment:

Fiona said...

There was a sequel to Ballet Shoes. It was called The Painted Garden and was mostly about Pauline's time in California, if I remember correctly.....