Friday, November 28, 2008
The Ballet Shoes
by Noel Streatfeild
read by Elizabeth Sastre
GUM (or Great Uncle Mathew) is an eclectic collector of fossils; however, from his three most recent journeys he has brought home baby girls. First, Pauline who has found in a shipwreck. Then Petrova, found orphaned in Russia. And, finally Posey whose mother named her and gave her ballet shoes before giving her to GUM to take care of. After collecting Posey, GUM sets off on an adventure, promising to come back in 5 years, but after the 5 years have passed and he hasn't returned the girls (along with their guardian "Garny") take money matters into their own hands. Each using their own special talents: Pauline = activing, Petrova = mechanical devices, and Posey = dancing to provide for the family.
I listened to this book while I was packing, and for the most part really enjoyed it. It reminded me quite a bit of The Little Princess, where there are three more or less perfect little girls who face hard circumstances, and come out on top. In the beginning it bothered me that everything seemed to work out so perfectly: like the boarders each having special abilities to help further the girls' lives, but when I relaxed and listened to the story for fun, it really was just enjoyable.
I loved that the girls made an oath to make a name for themselves because it was their own and no one could say it was because of their grandfather. I can totally see myself doing something similar (though I did have a family, so I couldn't use the grandfather bit) when I was younger and making bold goals.
I haven't been able to really reconcile the ending. It really bothered me that Pauline and Posey made such definate plans without even thinking about Petrova. I know that it worked out ok for Petrova, but it kind of seemed out of character for the girls. They had always done what they could for each other and this time they just kind of ignored what the other might want and went for it themselves.
Based off the tapes, I think this book would make a great read aloud, and I would recommend this book for younger girls (early elementary school or earlier), especially those who love dancing.
Posted by KT at 11:46 AM