Several years ago, I was looking for a book that the children and I could listen to in the car as we drove around town. I picked up Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild a couple of times, and put it down a couple of times. My girls were taking ballet lessons then, and loved them, but I wasn’t sure the boys would be interested. Plus, I didn’t want the children exposed to eating disorder issues that seem to be common in dancing. (This book does not include that particular subject.)
After examining the back of the CD case for the fourth time, and looking for the publication date, I decided to try it out. We are all so glad I did!
Even my boys enjoyed the story of Ballet Shoes – three young orphans, brought (or sent) home by Gum (their name for the ever-elusive Great-Uncle Matthew) to the Fossil house to be brought up by Miss Sylvia and Nana (her childhood nurse). Actually explaining the relationships between these women is a bit convoluted, but they were a family, brought together by Gum.
I decided that the reason my boys enjoyed listening to this story is because the three girls are so very, very different. They all take dance lessons in order to help bring in some money to their family, some with more enthusiasm than others. But they all work very hard. And in the end, they all follow very different dreams.
We enjoyed listening to the story so much that my oldest daughter asked for all the books Noel Streatfeild has written – which is a loosely-based trilogy – for Christmas.
Ballet Shoes, and Streatfeild’s other books, Dancing Shoes and Theater Shoes, are definitely worth reading. And probably something you and your whole family will enjoy listening to in the car.