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Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Ballet Shoes

Lately I’ve read quite a few of books by Noel Streatfeild and found that I enjoy them very much.  The last one, I’ve read was probably her most famous one, called “Ballet Shoes”.

I won’t bother to write a summary, since Wikipedia already provides one. (No worries about spoilers, I’ve modified it a little):

Ballet Shoes

Ballet Shoes

The narrative concern three adopted sisters, Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil. Each of the girls is discovered as a baby by Matthew Brown (Great-Uncle-Matthew, or Gum), an elderly, absent-minded geologist and professor, during his world travels, and sent home to his great-niece, Sylvia, and her childhood nanny.

Gum (Great-Uncle-Matthew)embarks upon an expedition of many years, and arranges for money for the family for five years. He does not return when he planned, and despite scrimping, the money is used up. Sylvia and Nana must take in boarders to help make ends meet, which introduces a variety of people who become important to the children: Mr. Simpson, who runs an auto repair garage; Drs. Jakes and Smith, a pair of professors who take over the children’s schooling after Sylvia can no longer afford their school fees, and Miss Theo Dane, a dance teacher, who arranges for the children to begin dance and stage training.

As the children mature, they begin to develop their own talents, and take on some of the responsibility of supporting the household… (Summary by Wikipedia)

It’s a sweet story, with charming characters and enough twists and turns to keep you interested. Also it’s beautifully written. I had a lot of fun reading it, even though it’s a “children’s book”. Still of all books I’ve read by Noel Streatfeild I liked “Thursday’s Child” best. (See earlier blog post)

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I’ve read lots and lots lately, but I’ve never gotten round to blogging  about any of them. Anyway, a couple of days ago I finished reading two really good ones called “Thursday’s Child” and “Ballet Shoes for Anna”.  The author of both is Noel Streatfield. Here are short summaries:

Ballet Shoes for Anna” is a very sweet book about three children coming to live with their strict uncle, after having lost their parents in an earthquake. Against their uncle’s wish and in secret the three children do everything to earn money for Anna’s dancing lessons…

I enjoyed the book very much, though the style of writing is rather unusual and it took some getting used to.

Thursday’s Child” is about Margaret Thursday, who as a baby was found on the steps of a church on a Thursday morning along with a note, entrusting her to the care of the church and promising 52 pounds per year. The first 10 years of her life Margaret is looked after by two elderly ladies, but when the money fails to come, Margaret is sent to an orphanage. On her way there she meets three children, of whom the two little boys are going to the orphanage too, while their sisters is to become a scullery maid.

The orphanage is poor, the children never have enough to eat and the Matron is a cruel woman. After a couple of unpleasant incidents Maragret feels forced to run away together with the two boys…

It’s a charming book and beautifully written. I enjoyed it so much, that I could hardly put it down. If you can, get hold of a copy and start reading. 😀

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“Allerleirauh”, or “The many-furred creature” by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm is one of my fav. fairy tales. It is a cute story about a princess running away from home after her father, the king declares that he intends to marry her…

Acutally he only does that in the German version. The version is somewhat watered down… there he only plans to marry her to somebody else, whom she does not love. (…which totally ruins the story if you ask me! ;))

Anyway as it happens I recorded the story twice (once in German and once in English). The first time way back in August with my old Logitec Desktop Mic. I liked it very much, for it gives a really decent sound qualitly without making you sound too tinny and it’s pretty cheap. But it also picks up every tiny noise, which is very annoying if you are using a laptop to record.

The second time I recorded Allerleirauh in English with my new Zoom H2. The Zoom is quite expensive, but it’s totally worth it. The sound quality is wonderful, it does not pick up too much background noise and an added bonus is that you can use it as USB Mic as well as a portable one. The only drawback is that my recordings never get quite as loud as I’d like them. I always have to amp. by about 5 dB.

Listen and let me know what you think! 😀

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Falling leaves

I recenlty came across the book “Falling leaves” by Adeline Yen Mah, when cleaning out my bookshelf. As this book used to be one of my favorites, the “tidying mission” was of course immediately abandoned and I started to read.

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen MahI won’t post a summary here, though I guess I must mention that the book is an autobiography, in which the author tells about her childhood as an unwanted Chinese daughter. (If you’d like to read a proper summary, just click the book title right at the beginning… I linked it directly to Adeline Yen Mah’s homepage).

Anyway, I could barely put the book down, (and that’s saying something, as I’d read it before… more than once).

It’s beautifully written and the story is probably one of the most touching, I’ve ever read. Occasionally the book is very sad and sometimes I found it hard to keep cool at the injustices, she suffered at the hands of her family. In short it’s an amazing book and I’ll certainly reread it some time! 😀

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Me & Emma

Me & Emma” written by Elizabeth Flock is one of the those books you’ll think about for a long time!

It’s about 8 year old Carrie Parker and her 6 year old sister Emma. The two girls live in a small town in North Carolina (I think). Carrie, who is in many ways just an ordinary 8 year old with ordinary problems, also has to put up with an abusive stepfather and a mother, who is unable to protect her and her sister. So it is Carrie, who tries to shield her little sister. Still it is Emma, the more couragous of the two, who receives the greater share of their stepfather’s abusive behavior!

When her stepfather decides to move with the family to another town, where he has gotten a better job, Carrie and Emma run away. This plan fails and they are severely punished for it.  In their new home a neighbour, who sees how they are treated at home, teaches the sisters to shoot, in order to protect themselves…

If you are curious to how the book ends, you’ll have to read if yourselves for I won’t tell you ;). Let’s just say, the ending is quite unexpected, but makes a lot of sense in hindsight and leaves you thinking for days on end! (though I started to suspect something of the kind somewhere in the middle 8-))

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