One morning last week I woke up to a message from my dear daughter horribly far away in Japan. It included a guardian article headlined ‘Ballet Shoes gets 21st century update’. Almost fainting with horror I read on: one of the girls, the ballet dancer will now be a boy (of course) and there will be an element of magical realism to the London setting. The article ended with the terrible news that the updating of children’s classics will not end here.
For anyone whose youth was so misspent that they grew up cruelly deprived of the total pleasure of this book, Ballet Shoes is the story of 3 girls fostered and given the name Fossil and their determination to forge ahead in their chosen careers as actor, car mechanic and ballet dancer, ‘to put our names in history books because it’s our very own and nobody can say it’s because of our grandfathers’. It featured in F’s top 20 books EVER and provokes wistful and enthusiastic recollection among devotees.
The book is a perfect read for any time, made even more interesting for its 1930s setting. So, call me old-fashioned, but I see absolutely no reason to change a single word!
Amaryllis is reading:
- The Shadow King, Maaza Mengiste – I have just started this novel set in Ethiopia during the 1930s during invasion of Italy under Mussolini and seen through eyes of women.
- Good Husbandry, Kristen Kimball – memoir of a couple starting a family whilst running a community farm in the Adirondacks. I almost want to be a farmer!
- Nothing to See Here, Kevin Wilson – a really enjoyable read about a young women caring for twins who have a propensity for spontaneous combustion – not as weird as it sounds and both funny and moving.