Friday, April 22, 2011

The Shoe Books

Familiar with this scene? :


A woman browsing, stops a sales person.

       WOMAN SHOPPER

 Do you have the "Shoe" books?

       SALESPERSON

 The "Shoe" books?  Who's the author?

       WOMAN SHOPPER

 I don't know.  My friend told me my

 daughter has to read the "Shoe" books,

 so here I am.

       KATHLEEN

 Noel Streatfeild.  Noel Streatfeild wrote

 Ballet Shoes and Skating Shoes and

 Theater Shoes and Movie Shoes...

  (she starts crying as she tells

   her)

 I'd start with Skating Shoes, it's my

 favorite, although Ballet Shoes is

 completely wonderful.


       SALESPERSON

 Streatfeild.  How do you spell that?


       KATHLEEN

 S-T-R-E-A-T-F-E-I-L-D.





It's from one of my favorite movies, "You've Got Mail."

There's something about that movie that always gets me hooked. If it comes on TV, I have to stop and watch it, no matter what scene it's in. I often imagine myself being like Kathleen, an expert on great children's books,possibly owning my own bookstore.

Every time I hear this scene, I'm always curious about the "Shoe" books... I had never heard of them before. In fact, I was under the impression that they were picture books until I saw a pretty beat up library copy in a friend's car in Chicago (her daughter had spilled milk all of it, and so I refrained from picking it up to avoid the stickiness). It was obviously a rather thick chapter book series.

Well, while student teaching, I found a copy of "Theatre Shoes" in the school's resource library. I checked it out and finally became acquainted with the infamous "Shoe" books. I've now read, "Ballet Shoes," "Dancing Shoes," "Movie Shoes," I'm working on "New Shoes," and have a copy of Kathleen's favorite, "Skating Shoes" to tackle last. There's also "Circus Shoes," "Family Shoes," "Tennis Shoes," "Party Shoes," and possibly one or two more in the "Shoe" book series... but these are pretty old books, and that's all I could scrounge up from the public library.

Three of the books so far have been kind of connected: Ballet Shoes, Movie Shoes, and Theatre Shoes. And today, as I finished Movie Shoes and began New Shoes, I thought, "I wonder why these haven't been made into movies yet..."

Well, what do you know? Ballet Shoes was already made into a movie bythe BBC. And Emma Watson played one of the main characters. I'm super excited to rent and watch it now... but also a bit disappointed. I had already been formulating the beginning of the script in my head.

But I guess that just means great minds think alike, huh? And maybe I could have a career in purchasing movie rights for great books?

Anyway, just like Kathleen from "You've Got Mail," I would highly recommend the "Shoe" books. I haven't read "Skating Shoes" yet, but "Ballet Shoes" is completely wonderful.

Side Note:  Noel Streatfeild, by the way, is a woman. Seems obvious enough, but for some reason, only hearing her name made me think of a male. I guess it's how my kids all thought Shel Silverstein (who's a man) was a woman.

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