Review by The Mole
Thirteen year old Daphne is an orphan living in St. Jude's orphanage and has a love of dancing. In fact it's more an all-consuming passion to be a ballerina. However a convent orphanage is not a place to be taught ballet and although Sister Mary Euphoria encourages and supports Daphne, that is as far as her dancing goes. Then one day a parcel arrives for Daphne containing a book called How To Teach Yourself Ballet and some stockings. Hand written inside the book is a riddle that Daphne feels she must get to understand. But who could have sent the parcel? And why to her?
I have to admit that I was taken aback by this book but knowing the publisher to be Strident, I shouldn't have been. The formula says the magical stockings make everything OK and she goes on to become the world's best ballerina, but not so. Throughout most of the book I wondered what the point of the stockings actually was!
This is a story of ambition, hard work, set backs and small successes. Despite the stockings she is told she is not good enough yet she continues to pursue her dream and works long hard hours, on her own, making her feet bleed, to improve with the help of the book only to be turned down yet again.
In these reviews I always try, but don't always succeed, to avoid reusing words but this book is magic, magic, magic! It shows a child who pursues her self belief, her ambitions, her dreams and how this all consuming goal can wreck friendships, families and trusts - or it can strengthen these bonds.
A wonderful story that will delight children, I'm sure, whether they have dreams yet or not.
Publisher - Strident Publishing
Genre - Childrens' fiction (9+)
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