As readers, we all have books we re-read. We could just love the characters, the story, or it’s associated with memories. I was fortunate to be very close to my maternal grandparents growing up and one summer they took us girls to Cape Cod for a week. I can still remember walking around a book store and finding three books that immediately became my favorites: Ballet Shoes, Theater Shoes, and Dancing Shoes. On the drive home I was transported into those English, theatrical worlds.
A few years later, a friend of mine mentioned her favorite of those books was Skating Shoes. I would look for it in Barnes and Nobles (it’s weird remembering a time before Kindle and Prime) but I was never able to find it. Then, in March, I saw that Random House re-released Skating Shoes and I HAD to get my hands on it.
Skating Shoes by Noel Streatfeild is a charming novel about two friends, Lalla and Harriet, who experience the world of ice skating together.
The novel was originally published in 1951, and it definitely has a more classic feel to the writing. The story takes place in England, and kids are introduced to some English words and expressions. It was nice to take a break from more modern texts with technology and enjoy a simpler time.
Streatfeild has a way of developing such realistic characters. Lalla and Harriet could not be more different from one another. Lalla has grown up being told she is going to be a famous skater with her wealthy aunt, and Harriet comes from a poor, loving family. Both girls have sass, spunk, and determination that show young girls it’s okay to be unique. Readers can relate to pieces of the characters, and will smile at some of the cheeky dialogue. I especially like the conversations with Harriet’s younger brother Edward.
Personally, I would consider this a girly book, and would recommend it for kids in grades 3-6. The vocabulary is not complex, but the text is quite long (281 pages). It’s a fun read that shows the importance of friendship, family and determination.