Gemma & Gemma Alone

July 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm (Children's lit) (, )

Gemma & Gemma Alone by Noel Streatfeild

Gemma by noel Streatfeild

Gemma & Gemma Alone by Noel Streatfeild
Originally printed 1968 & 1969
Dell Yearling, 1st printings, 1986 & 1987
138 & 150 pages
Genre:
children’s literature/ YA fiction

Synopsis & Review: The Robinson family live in Headstone, a good-sized industrial town north of London. Father Philip is on leave from his position as first violin in the Steen, Headstone’s world-famous orchestra. Eldest child Ann is a talented singer, middle child Lydie a gifted dancer, and the youngest Robin is a promising musician and chorister.

Gemma Alone by Noel Streatfeild

Gemma Alone by Noel Streatfeild

Together they live a quiet, but very satisfactory life of talent, hard work, and achievement. And then mother Alice’s niece comes to stay. Alice’s sister Rowena was once a famous actress, and when she fell out of fashion, she put her daughter Gemma Bow into the limelight as a child actress. Now that Gemma’s approaching adolescence, she’s less marketable, and hasn’t gotten any roles in some time. Rowena’s career, however, is on the rise once more, this time on television. Since filming will be in America, Rowena sends Gemma to live with the Robinsons, to spend time attending school and growing out of her awkward stage. click here for more about the Gemma books

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Movie Shoes

July 9, 2009 at 3:32 am (Children's lit) (, )

Movie Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Movie Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Movie Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Originally printed 1945 (as The Painted Garden)
Dell Yearling, 2nd printing, 1984
239 pages
Genre:
children’s literature

Synopsis & Review: The Winter family is in a funk. Their father is in a decline, and unless he can winter somewhere with lots of sunshine, he isn’t expected to last out the year. Though his sister Cora in California has invited him to visit, he refuses to leave his family in England, making the future seem very dark indeed. When Peaseblossom receives an unexpected bequest, in exactly the amount needed for the entire family to travel to California, the children are elated, then despondent. For Rachel is a talented dancer, and has just been selected for a paying role on stage, and musical child Tim has been offered training under one of the country’s most talented concert pianists. Plain Jane, the middle child, has no particular talent, but must leave her beloved cocker spaniel Chewing-gum. The children all buck up, however, Rachel and Tim postponing their engagements, and even Jane reluctantly leaves Chewing-gum in the care of the family doctor. click for more about Movie Shoes

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Circus Shoes

July 9, 2009 at 2:49 am (Children's lit) ()

Circus Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Circus Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Circus Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Originally printed 1938 (as The Circus is Coming)
Dell Yearling, 1st printing, 1985
272 pages
Genre:
children’s literature

Synopsis & Review: Orphaned in their infancy, Peter and Santa are taken in by their spinster aunt Rebecca, and raised according to the strictures she learned in service to her Duchess. What served the gentry does little for Peter and Santa, who are brought up in almost total ignorance by a crowd of well-meaning but ineffectual older folk. They have tutors rather than attend school, are not allowed outside to play, and are fussily overdressed; all in all, they are very peculiar, sheltered children, although they do not realize it. At Aunt Rebecca’s death, her small annuity ends, and the two children are told that they are to be sent to live in orphanages. Rather than be separated, Peter and Santa run away to find a mysterious uncle of whom they know nothing, just that he may work for a circus.

Upon arriving at Cob’s Circus, the two startle their uncle, who berates them for their silly behavior: instead of simply informing their friends of their relative, they let people worry as they tramped across the country. Their problems don’t end there as the children begin to realize their many shortcomings. Their aunt and tutors have ill-prepared them for life; the children are far behind in their studies and are wildly impractical and backward when compared to their peers with the circus. As they travel with the circus, Peter and Santa begin learning the lessons no one thought to teach them, and try hard to improve themselves enough that Uncle Gus won’t send them away from the world they have begun to love. click here for more about Circus Shoes

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