Dancing Shoes (originally published as Wintle's Wonders)
Noel Streatfeild, il. Richard Floethe
1957, Collins (
Edition shown - Dell Yearling, 1981
When Rachel and Hilary Lennox's mother dies, they are taken in by their uncle Tom and his wife, Cora, who runs a
One of the 'shoe' books from Streatfeild and one of several books she wrote about children studying the performing arts in professional schools in
"But suppose I don't want to be made something of?"
Rachel's unhappy question is an attack on her aunt's incessant attempt to make her over into an attractive Wonder, and even the sympathetic Pursey - co-owner of the school and cozy housemother to the entire place - scolds her for her resistance. It is a standard Streafeild answer to make her misfit child a star at some other art; you get the sense that if they hadn't discovered their niche so speedily, they'd have been obligated to force themselves awkwardly into the spot chosen by their guardian.
One oddity, placing the book in an earlier era and different place, is the recurring mention of Hilary's being adopted. Initially, she's not included in Tom and Cora's offer to take in Rachel, and it's mentioned several times that she's not a 'real' sister. The children are adamant that they are sisters, but the adults seem a bit hung up on the adoption thing.
About the Author
The White Gaunlet - website about Noel Streatfeild
About the illustrator
Available at Random House
Other books (shoe books)