Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfield

I have long heard about the book Ballet Shoes. Apparently they're a childhood classic, and Dancing Shoes is in the same series as them. What I didn't know was that one of my childhood favourites - The Painted Garden, was also by this author! Thankfully, I liked Dancing Shoes, so I wasn't disappointed :D

Dancing Shoes follows Rachel and Hilary. Hilary is Rachel's adopted sister, and because of something that Rachel's mother said, Rachel is convinced that Hilary is cut out to be a dancer. However, when their mother dies, Rachel's aunt, who owns a dancing troupe takes them in. Not only is Mrs Winters a mean person who cares only for her selfish daugher Dulcie, they're doing the wrong sort of dancing! Although Hilary enjoys the dances, Rachel does her best to keep Hilary from making what she thinks is a mistake.

This book was a really fun read! Rachel and Hilary have a very adorable relationship - Rachel is goal-minded while Hilary is carefree, so their personalities were adorable together (made for some clashes though). Mrs Winters was a good villain, and had an interesting backstory. Dulcie was the type of girl that you'd hope to see fail, and when [SPOILER] both her cousins upstage her, you can't help but cheer a little. There's also a good supporting cast of characters, each with their own distinctive trait.

Most of the conflict in this book comes from the fact that everyone doesn't understand why Rachel is so opposed to Hilary dancing. As a result, most of the adults around her think that Rachel's a selfish and jealous sister. But since I, as the reader, know what's going on, it just made me like her more. I really admire how much she cares for Hilary, so much that she's willing to be misunderstood.

Hilary, on the other hand, I didn't like so much. She's a bit lazy, and I found her to be rather selfish, But I think that out of the two, Rachel is the real protagonist, and so I enjoyed the book for most part.

I'm way older than the target audience, but I would love to read the rest of the books in this series! And I really want to re-read The Painted Garden now. It seems like it's time for my second childhood!

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