Thursday, 24 July 2008

Party Shoes

Noel Streatfeild is perhaps best known for Ballet Shoes, the children's classic which doesn't actually feature much ballet! The popularity of Ballet Shoes has perhaps overshadowed the other books that Streatfeild wrote for children which, like the very best children's writing, can also be enjoyed by adults. Party Shoes was originally published in 1946 as Party Frock. The story begins with Selina, whose parents are held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Japan, receiving a parcel from her American godmother which contains a spectacular dress. Opportunities to wear the dress are limited as Selina's aunt dryly points out:

Selina, my pet, your godmother has the most inflated ideas about what is worn in English villages at the end of a long war.
Selina and her cousins plan an open air pageant simply to provide an opportunity for her to wear the dress. Staging a village pageant during WW2 with rationing in full force requires creativity and resourcefulness. Costumes are made from blackout curtains and dyed butter muslin with the help of the WI, scripts are handwritten and the local ballet school are persuaded to help out.


Anonymous said...

Hello, I popped over here after you left a comment on my blog. I see we like the same sorts of books! Party Frock has been a favourite of mine since I was a child and I also like The Children of Primrose Lane. After Ballet Shoes, my favourite is probably Curtain Up. I love children's books written during the war.

Vintage Reading said...

Hello, thanks so much for visiting me. I've just read Tennis Shoes which I don't think stands the test of time as well as Party Frock (wish they'd kept the original title). I did enjoy Dancing Shoes (Wintle's Wonders) though. Must look out for The Children of Primrose Lane. Nicola