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Silver Shoes (series)

Silver Shoes

Silver Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadway Baby

9780857989031

 

Lights, Camera, Dance

9780857989055

 

Samantha-Ellen Bound

Random House, 2015

pbk., 144pp., RRP $A14.99

 

Broadway Baby and Lights, Camera, Action are the latest additions to the Silver Shoes series which follows the early dancing days of a group of friends at the Silver Shoes Dance Studio.  Each girl has her favourite genre and this time it is the turn of Ellie and Ashley to shine again. Since her success in And All That Jazz, Ellie has been taking singing lessons and now she is determined to wow them in a Broadway musical and become a ‘triple threat” – one who can act, dance and sing.  However, her strength is jazz ballet not tap dancing and there are those who are better than she also auditioning.

Meanwhile, in Lights, Camera, Action hip-hop lover Ashley is now inspired by reggae and is desperate to impress an agent looking for the star of his next music video.  But, as with the others in this series, there are those who are determined to be better than the heroine so like Ellie, Ashley has to dig deep into her inner self to persevere and test herself. 

Dancing remains one of the most popular sports for Australian children and so it’s no wonder that this series has been a hit with so many of the young girls I know.  Once again, the author’s expertise shines through and while the key focus is on the dancing element, she still holds a mirror to the life of this age group who are branching out into new ventures and friendships as they try out new independence.  Each reader sees herself as the lead character on the stage but can also relate to the challenges that have to be faced to get there. 

I know these will be snapped up as soon as they appear – here’s hoping there are more in the pipeline!

Click here for a review of the first two in the series

Click here for a review of the first two in the series

Click here for a review of others in the series

Click here for a review of others in the series

 

 

Dinosaur Disco

Dinosaur Disco

Dinosaur Disco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur Disco

Deborah Kelly

Daron Parton

Random House, 2015

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780857981363

It’s Saturday night and there is a great sense of anticipation in the line-up at the door of the disco.  The doors, open, the crown surges, music starts to pump… and the dinosaurs surge into the hall!  Each has their own unique style – styracosaurus salsa, corythosuarus crumps and maisaura moonwalks across the shiny floor – but it doesn’t matter because each is having fun and loving what they are doing.  With the disco ball and lights flashing, the conga line snakes across the floor until the music stops, the ground begins to shake, there’s an eerie silence and some of the little dinosaurs dive for cover.  What could have cast such a pall of gloom over the fun and frivolity?

If you looking for a raucous, rollicking book that young dinosaur lovers can really get into, then this is perfect.  In their amazing way, they will get their tongues around the difficult and unfamiliar names and will move and groove with the dancers.  They will hold their breath when the intruder arrives but delight in the ending, joining in with great gusto.  

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Dinosaurs are perennial favourites with young readers – and they can never get enough of them. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, old and new titles are eagerly sought and this one combines the best of both worlds as there is a pronunciation guide as well as some fast facts about the champions in the book. Bright illustrations add to the appeal and while somewhat stylised they are close enough to the child’s perception of each species, they will delight in being able to identify them.  Definitely one for the collection but it needs to have some loud music going to get the atmosphere happening for a memorable storytime. 

Silver Shoes (series)

silver_shoes2

Silver Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance Till you Drop

9780857983725

Breaking Pointe

9780857983749

Samantha-Ellen Bound

Random House, 2015

pbk., 144pp., RRP $A14.99

 

Silver Shoes Dance Studio is a dance academy where 10 year-old Eleanor Irvin and her friends go three or four times a week to learn to dance.  Jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, ballroom, lyrical – whatever the style it’s on offer and each girl has her favourite genre.  In the first two titles in this series – And All that Jazz and Hit the Streets – the focus was Eleanor and her love for jazz ballet and then Ashley and her desire to excel at hip-hop.  The latest two additions to this popular series focus on ballroom dancing and ballet.

In Dance Till You Drop Paige struggles with trying to meet her mother’s expectations that she will be the best dancer ever and pushing her into extra classes and her body and head telling her she needs to take a break.  It’s not till she doesn’t turn up at class and her friends find her hiding that things come to a head, particularly when Ellie asks her “What’s more important?  Your mum being a bit upset when you tell her or you being like a zombie all the time and running away from class?”  It takes a while but her love to dance is questioned and answered in a story many will see themselves in, in one way or another.

Ballet is the focus of Breaking Pointe and Riley has to make choices between her love of it as well as her love of all sports, including athletics and basketball, especially when she finds she has a clash of commitments.  This is another situation familiar to many young people as they try new things to find their passion and begin to understand they can’t do everything.

This series has proven very popular among the girls at my school who are fascinated with all things dance and it is perfect for moving them on beyond the heavily illustrated early chapter books as they continue their reading journeys towards independence.  They are going to be delighted to see these new additions to the series and know that there are two more coming in October!

Silver Shoes

Silver Shoes

Click here for a review of the first two in the series.

 

Silver Shoes (series)

Silver Shoes

Silver Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Shoes (series)

And All That Jazz

9780857982627

Hit the Streets

9780857982641

Samantha-Ellen Bound

Random House, 2014

pbk., 144pp., RRP $A14.99

 

Silver Shoes Dance Studio is a dance academy where 10 year-old Eleanor Irvin and her friends go three or four times a week to learn to dance.  Jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, ballroom, lyrical – whatever the style it’s on offer and each girl has her favourite genre.  For Eleanor it’s jazz and in the first in this new series And All That Jazz, the focus is on an up-coming competition where the studio not only competes against other studios but the girls also compete against each other in the individual section.  Eleanor is very passionate about dance – “Sure, a dance can only go for a few minutes but you create bit of magic in that time.  The dance has these little fingers that go reaching out to find all the little happys that make one big happy- one tiny moment that’s somehow full of all these good things” – and at times her intensity gets in the way of her relationships, particularly with newcomer Ashley who has joined Silver Shoes from its arch rival Dance Art.

Hit the Streets focuses on Ashley’s desire to learn hip-hop but as she gradually convinces the Silver Shoes girls that she’s not a spy for Dance Art, she hits some personal problems that threaten to crush her dreams.  There was a hint of there being more to Ashley’s story than meets the eye in And All That Jazz and readers now learn what that is.

This is a great new series for this age group that loves to dance and Miss 8 enjoyed these first two episodes immensely.  With each girl having their particular passion (in Breaking Pointe Riley loves ballet and in ballroom dancing is the focus of Paige’s story in Dance till you Drop –both out in April) the series has a broader appeal. The characters are very real – they could be any little 10-year-old girl you know and they’re not always likeable.  Eleanor makes a point of trying to paint Jasmine (Jas-mean) black but there were times when she could have been holding a mirror to herself – and that’s the nature of this age group as they dart to negotiate independent friendships and relationships. It is also made clear that dancing is not all glitter and glam and pretty costumes – the thing that often attracts in the first place – and that it involves hard work and long hours and learning that you’re not always going to win.  There are insights and lessons here that aren’t necessarily dance-focused.  Not only does the author’s expertise in dance show through but also her knowledge of this age group.

Each book has a bio of its main character as well as instructions for how to perform a particular move and a full glossary.  Even though dance of some sort is the second most popular sport in Australia with over 4 000 000 participants, not all who would like to get the opportunity to dance, so this series will at least fuel their dreams.  

 

silver_shoes2

Click here for a review of the next two in the series.