Theater Shoes

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Their father has been lost at sea, and so Sorrel, Mark, and Holly go to war-torn London to live with their actress grandmother. She's determined to have them follow in the family's theatrical footsteps--no matter how much they protest! This story will enchant young theater lovers and fans of Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes and Dancing Shoes.

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Debi L

Apr 23, 2011

I came to this book as an adult, so perhaps I didn't form an attachment to it the way I did with some of the other "Shoes" books.
Ms. Streatfeild does her usual capable job of portraying an English family who, when thrown into difficult circumstances, manages to succeed with hard work and just the right amount of luck. When the three Forbes children are orphaned and sent to live with their actress Grandmother, they decide to make the best of a difficult situation. They are sent to a school of performing arts for children and their experiences as they enter this unfamiliar world are fascinating glimpses into a way of life which has mostly disappeared.
Up until the late Fifties, in both the USA and Abroad, the theater was still the career to which most actors aspired. Movies were considered somewhat inferior to "proper" acting, especially of the Shakespearian variety. Troupes of children performing on the stage in both song and dance venues were a commonplace feature of British life. This method provided a means of support for the children and often their families, especially if one--or both--parents were killed in the war and the guardians were struggling to support the children.
The Forbes children are skillfully portrayed and we can identify with the difficulties of being thrust into a new school, new types of lessons and a new family. I thought they were nice children and was happy when they triumphed in their stage careers. The only complaint I had with the ending is that we never got a chance to find out if the family stayed in the theater or the children went back to their "old" lifes in Guernsey. And...does Mark decide to choose singing over becoming a sailor?

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