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White Boots

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Harriet is told that she must take up ice-skating in order to improve her health. She isn't much good at it, until she meets Lalla, a young skating star. Now Harriet is getting better on the ice, and Lalla doesn't like it. Does Harriet want to save their friendship more than she wants to skate? Harriet is told that she must take up ice-skating in order to improve her health. She isn't much good at it, until she meets Lalla, a young skating star. Now Harriet is getting better on the ice, and Lalla doesn't like it. Does Harriet want to save their friendship more than she wants to skate?


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Harriet is told that she must take up ice-skating in order to improve her health. She isn't much good at it, until she meets Lalla, a young skating star. Now Harriet is getting better on the ice, and Lalla doesn't like it. Does Harriet want to save their friendship more than she wants to skate? Harriet is told that she must take up ice-skating in order to improve her health. She isn't much good at it, until she meets Lalla, a young skating star. Now Harriet is getting better on the ice, and Lalla doesn't like it. Does Harriet want to save their friendship more than she wants to skate?

30 review for White Boots

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    I found out about Noel Streatfeild's Shoe Books through one of my most favourite movies, You've Got Mail. I had no idea what exactly they are about but wanted to read at least one nevertheless. The only problem with this story? It's not actually true. Without knowing it, I had known the very first of the series, Ballet Shoes - albeit only its movie adaptation with Emma Watson which I saw quite a number of years ago. So I went ahead and bought the book along with another volume that sounded perfec I found out about Noel Streatfeild's Shoe Books through one of my most favourite movies, You've Got Mail. I had no idea what exactly they are about but wanted to read at least one nevertheless. The only problem with this story? It's not actually true. Without knowing it, I had known the very first of the series, Ballet Shoes - albeit only its movie adaptation with Emma Watson which I saw quite a number of years ago. So I went ahead and bought the book along with another volume that sounded perfect for the start of a new reading year simply because the story takes place in winter. This one, Skating Shoes. Apparently, this is the 7th installment in the series but since the books are all separate stories, that's not a problem. In the beginning of this story, it's autumn, to the great dismay of Harriet, the main character. She has been ill almost all year and is only now getting better. However, now the weather is getting worse so she missed out on a lot, which is also showing in her weak limbs. To help her, her doctor prescribes skating lessons. At the rink, she meets Lalla, a rich girl that is supposed to become a great champion like her father (who died when Lalla was little). The girls become fast friends despite being from very different worlds. But can their friendship survive even when Lalla loses interest in skating while Harriet's talent shows itself? The author has presented us with a host of quirky characters such as stern and misguided Aunt Claudia, kind and helpful Uncle David, decent and caring nurse Nana, dreamy Mr. Pulton, a host of tutors, and, of course, Harriets colourful family (three brothers, a father with not an ounce of business sense and a gentle lady of a mother). Together, they make a fine job of teaching young and old readers that where you come from doesn't really matter, that what's in your heart is what's important and how you consequently treat others. Monetary problems, class differences, bigotry, friendship, siblings' bonds, honesty, industriousness, love and loss all play a part in (sometimes gently, sometimes harshly) bringing up the young characters along with the readers following their story and despite my edition's poor editing (boy, there were far too many spelling errors / typos for a professionally published book), I enjoyed the author's writing as well as the setting created. I like that the author really took her time developing all of the characters presented here, painting the scene where events are unfolding in detail, and that England comes to life through her beautiful prose. It's also the perfect proof that books for young(er) readers can and indeed should be deep and meaningful and that they teach adult readers quite a lot, too. Now I know why Katherine Kelly loves these books so much. Nevertheless, I had to deduct a star for the abusive turn this friendship often took, initiated by Lalla (like threatening Harriet because Lalla held a position of power and was spiteful). Yes, it's realistic and not entirely Lalla's fault that she turned out that way, but it's nonetheless bad.

  2. 4 out of 5

    nancy

    Top Nine Reasons I Love Skating Shoes & Am Grateful I Read It Again: 1) It was one of my favorite books as a child and it still holds up. 2) It has lines like this: “During the last six months the little girl Harriet, without her noticing it, had disappeared and a new Harriet had taken her place. A Harriet who looked much the same outside, but was more of a person inside.” 3) I had totally forgotten that the book took place in England. (Not sure if this is a testament to my terrible memory, or th Top Nine Reasons I Love Skating Shoes & Am Grateful I Read It Again: 1) It was one of my favorite books as a child and it still holds up. 2) It has lines like this: “During the last six months the little girl Harriet, without her noticing it, had disappeared and a new Harriet had taken her place. A Harriet who looked much the same outside, but was more of a person inside.” 3) I had totally forgotten that the book took place in England. (Not sure if this is a testament to my terrible memory, or the fact that the book transcended time and place so well and got all of the emotional details just right. Whatever the case, this little Staten Island girl didn’t realize how far it was from her reality.) 4) The author spends real time developing the adult characters, but not at the expense of the child characters. 5) The author gives you just enough technical skating details to understand what Lalla is doing…and nothing more. 6) Harriet’s family is supportive and real and wonderful to spend time with. (I’m guessing that the author of The Penderwicks must have read these books as a child? Both families have that same cozy charm!) 7) Lalla is rude and awful to Harriet at times, and to the other characters in the book, and yet the author presents Lalla in such a way that you don’t completely loathe her. 8) Harriet doesn’t have some big turnaround where she stands up to Lalla. She responds exactly as young girl in her situation would. 9) The book is an absolute classic, but it’s still not "perfect". (There were parts where the pace would strangely speed up, the ending is a bit abrupt, and sometimes a scene would end and there’d no break between paragraphs before the author would begin another scene.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tatevik

    Skating shoes was not as magical as Ballet Shoes and not that engaging, as it took me about a month to finish the book. But still, I love how Streatfeild creates the cozy family atmosphere, and I love being part of it while reading. Her books always have the "lesson" parts for children to learn the wrong-right balance. Something didn't work for me. I know she created Lalla and her aunt for the wrong-right balance only, but I hated both so much. Harriet was a dear girl to be a role model for a per Skating shoes was not as magical as Ballet Shoes and not that engaging, as it took me about a month to finish the book. But still, I love how Streatfeild creates the cozy family atmosphere, and I love being part of it while reading. Her books always have the "lesson" parts for children to learn the wrong-right balance. Something didn't work for me. I know she created Lalla and her aunt for the wrong-right balance only, but I hated both so much. Harriet was a dear girl to be a role model for a person. However, sometimes I forgot that the story was wrapped up around her. For main characters (and to be considered by mistake) Lalla and her aunt sucked, especially for the young audience. I hoped this would be another Ballet Shoes, but was a little disappointed. However, as Kathleen would say, it was completely wonderful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Girl with her Head in a Book

    For my full review: https://girlwithherheadinabook.co.uk/... It has long been my belief that you never read the same book twice and so it was when I sat down to reread White Boots. The last time I picked it up would have been during the late 1990s but in the depths of lockdown, Noel Streatfeild seemed to be the perfect choice for comfort reading. Various publishers have been unearthing Streatfeild's back catalogue recently and last year I was underwhelmed by both Noel Streatfeild's Christmas Stor For my full review: https://girlwithherheadinabook.co.uk/... It has long been my belief that you never read the same book twice and so it was when I sat down to reread White Boots. The last time I picked it up would have been during the late 1990s but in the depths of lockdown, Noel Streatfeild seemed to be the perfect choice for comfort reading. Various publishers have been unearthing Streatfeild's back catalogue recently and last year I was underwhelmed by both Noel Streatfeild's Christmas Stories and The Bell Family. Here though, I felt like I was on secure ground. This was not just any Streatfeild book, it was one of the original 'classics' - sometimes known as Skating Shoes, it is one of her best known novels. And yet, it packed quite a sting in its tail. The premise is roughly thus; young Harriet has been unwell and cannot go to school. From a large and impoverished family, the worry is that she is not recovering as she should. The family doctor advises that she takes up skating to strengthen her legs. Her elder brother takes up a paper round to pay for the hire of her skates and the doctor has a word at the rink to make sure she gets in for free. During her very first session, Harriet and her mother meet Lalla Moore. The two girls are the same age but their situations are quite different. While Harriet is a skating novice, Lalla is the daughter of a world champion and is expected to become one herself. And while Harriet is from a loving family, Lalla is an orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle. You see the picture - one girl is literally rich but the other is rich in everything else. They're drawn together. Over time, the two girls start having lessons together and even share Lalla's skating instructor. The tension arises however as Harriet begins to show a talent for skating and over time, shows signs of matching her skill. It's almost like a pre-adolescent All About Eve with Lalla becoming increasingly angry that her one-time protegée may in fact surpass her. Fasten your seatbelts, we're in for a bumpy night. While other Streatfeild novels focus on the glamour and adventure of a childhood spent performing, White Boots has a harder edge. Lalla's Aunt Claudia is determined to see her niece become a world figure skating champion just like her late father. She made this decision directly after the child was orphaned, even hanging the skates in which her father died above the child's bed. Streatfeild states explicitly that Aunt Claudia's motivation is because she wants the glory and attention, having no such talents herself. While the silly and vain aunt is a stock figure in Streatfeild's fiction, Claudia is the vilest of them all by quite a streak. I remember disliking her when I first read the book but this time I was horror-struck. Seeing her pile the pressure on a child of ten was appalling. Still worse was how she scolded Lalla for developing some 'naughty curves' and put the little girl on a diet. It was something of a mystery why her lovely husband had not shopped her to the authorities and sought a divorce. I think he and Lalla would have been much happier. Even beyond the Cruella De Vil guardian, there are some tough concepts to wrestle with. The adults around Lalla fret over the pressure the child is being put under but are unsure how best to intervene. Claudia pays the wages for several of them. Others feel that it is not their place. But yet poor Lalla was clearly acting out and struggling to cope. Reading the book as a child, I found it hard to sympathise with Lalla who seemed to have so much and yet who was being so mean to poor Harriet. Yet as an adult, her inner turmoil is obvious. It's rare to see child mental health being raised as a topic in a book of this era (originally published in 1951) but that is what is going on. I was caught though by how Lalla's life would have been easier if the book was written today. She is specifically struggling with skating figures, an area of the sport which has changed drastically since the 1950s. With skating increasingly geared towards spectators rather than judges, those 'ghastly' figures that she cannot master would be less important. Lalla is more suited to the free-skating displays of professional skating, much more popular with the judges today. Of course, this is all part of the usual Streatfeild homily about hard work and perseverance. Harriet is able to doggedly practice and sort out her figures. Lalla just doesn't have the concentration. But in contrast to other stories, it is not that Lalla is not trying. Seeing her getting shoved towards the edge is heartbreaking. So much adventure fiction, particularly novels aimed at children, rests on the idea that if you do your best, you will get to where you need to go. White Boots is quite revolutionary in suggesting quietly that no, sometimes that does not work. Sometimes you can't do it. And I loved how Streatfeild showed Lalla's real and true courage in finally admitting that. I was brought up to keep going and to persevere and while this is an admirable goal in most areas, it has been a tough road for me to learn when to cut my losses and give up. It took until my late twenties for me to ever accept it as a possible outcome and even now occasionally I realise that I've fallen down another 'don't give up' rabbit-hole. So I really value the moral here - recognise when you've given something as much as you can and then there's no shame in finding a new path. With so many other Streatfeild novels focusing on sibling groups, I like how White Boots also celebrates friendship. The dynamic between Harriet and Lalla is tempestuous but then adolescent female friendship often is pretty intense. I loved how the novel ended, with both girls excited for their futures and still loyal to each other. Of all Streatfeild's novels, this is among my favourites and Lalla is one of the author's liveliest and most charming heroines, often reminding me of Pullman's Lyra. I like to imagine a septuagenarian Lalla out there somewhere, still skating and still fabulous. I hope she found her dream.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)

    Streatfeild has the most charming, insightful, compassionate way of describing human interactions. This is my least favorite of her Shoes books so far, mostly because skating offers fewer opportunities than theater to describe the terrifying/magical feelings of auditions and performances (my favorite aspect of the other books). But "least favorite" of the Shoes books doesn't say much - they're all beautiful. Streatfeild has the most charming, insightful, compassionate way of describing human interactions. This is my least favorite of her Shoes books so far, mostly because skating offers fewer opportunities than theater to describe the terrifying/magical feelings of auditions and performances (my favorite aspect of the other books). But "least favorite" of the Shoes books doesn't say much - they're all beautiful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melody Schwarting

    Classic Streatfeild--children, training, fame, and comeuppance. This one has more family scenes than most of her books, since many of her characters are orphans, and these make Skating Shoes cozier. Dipping back into Streatfeild makes me want to re-read Ballet Shoes, which I had nearly memorized as a child: "CHILDREN'S ACAD | EMY OF DANCING AN | D STAGE TRAINING." I can still hear the audiobook narrator in my head. Oddly, there is less of a London feel to Skating Shoes than what I recall from Ba Classic Streatfeild--children, training, fame, and comeuppance. This one has more family scenes than most of her books, since many of her characters are orphans, and these make Skating Shoes cozier. Dipping back into Streatfeild makes me want to re-read Ballet Shoes, which I had nearly memorized as a child: "CHILDREN'S ACAD | EMY OF DANCING AN | D STAGE TRAINING." I can still hear the audiobook narrator in my head. Oddly, there is less of a London feel to Skating Shoes than what I recall from Ballet, Theatre, and Dancing Shoes. Perhaps it's because there's not quite as much travel around the city or theatre performances, but I did miss that postwar London vibe, though rationing was out in full force. As always, we see Streatfeild's Shakespearean side. Henry V is on show, particularly, with a few hints at Twelfth Night. These happen to be my favorite history and comedy plays, so I liked the nods to them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I've been wanting to reread this for a while and the ice skating at the Olympics pushed me over the edge. I finished it a while ago, but I'm late catching up on reviews at the moment. It did send me down a rabbit hole of exactly how figure skating as represented in the book compared to what we call figure skating today. The latter grew out of the former, but as in so many sports, skating is aimed at the spectators these days and the time and precision required for actual figure skating was decide I've been wanting to reread this for a while and the ice skating at the Olympics pushed me over the edge. I finished it a while ago, but I'm late catching up on reviews at the moment. It did send me down a rabbit hole of exactly how figure skating as represented in the book compared to what we call figure skating today. The latter grew out of the former, but as in so many sports, skating is aimed at the spectators these days and the time and precision required for actual figure skating was decided to take too long. Nowadays, all the skating we see on TV is what was considered free skating in this book. I can totally see why Harriet turned out to be the one with the skills and temperament to be a figure skater, while Lalla would shine in free skating. This was a lovely trip down memory lane. I do still like this book very much.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    A cornucopia of family, friends, and figure skating. Harriet Johnson is in need of some good old-fashioned exercise. Her doctor prescribes skating, and with some assistance from the local rink owner Harriet is soon out on the ice. Fortunately, local phenom Lalla is on hand to encourage Harriet and give opportunities for broader experiences including ballet and fencing. Meanwhile one of Harriet's older brothers decides to take on a paper route to help pay for the skate rental and save a bit to he A cornucopia of family, friends, and figure skating. Harriet Johnson is in need of some good old-fashioned exercise. Her doctor prescribes skating, and with some assistance from the local rink owner Harriet is soon out on the ice. Fortunately, local phenom Lalla is on hand to encourage Harriet and give opportunities for broader experiences including ballet and fencing. Meanwhile one of Harriet's older brothers decides to take on a paper route to help pay for the skate rental and save a bit to help supplement the goods coming in to his dad's store. There are some hilarious bits where the Johnson family describes the goods coming in from the family estate in the country. Mom Olivia is always a good sport. Lalla's Aunt Celia is a piece of work. Those are just a few of the delightful characters we meet in the classic title in the Shoes series. What I love most is the way the siblings support each other how the community also steps alongside with grace and tact when needed. As Lalla would say: "Oh, giggerty-geggerty. Won't they be pleased." And, my favorite, "Guzzle guzzle guzzle, quack quack quack."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susann

    Why did Uncle David stay with Aunt Claudia? Surely he could have done better. Update: One of my favorites of the 'Shoes' books. With this re-read, I was amazed by the number of adults that conspired to help both Lalla and Harriet. This is also one of the few Streatfeild books that focuses more on friendship than on family relationships. It certainly contains one of my favorite Streatfeild Nanas: "She did not hold with ice, nasty, damp stuff, but she defied any ice to give a chill to a child who Why did Uncle David stay with Aunt Claudia? Surely he could have done better. Update: One of my favorites of the 'Shoes' books. With this re-read, I was amazed by the number of adults that conspired to help both Lalla and Harriet. This is also one of the few Streatfeild books that focuses more on friendship than on family relationships. It certainly contains one of my favorite Streatfeild Nanas: "She did not hold with ice, nasty, damp stuff, but she defied any ice to give a chill to a child who wore wool knitted by herself next to the skin." As a child, I was completely focused on the figure skating and on the Lalla & Harriet relationship, especially when Lalla loses control towards the end. Thus, now, it's so much fun to dwell on the details that went over my 8-year-old head: the passing references to the recently-ended WWII, the ins and outs of the Covent Garden market, the gradual slipping away of Johnson family wealth and, yes, the wonderment about Aunt Claudia's marriage to Uncle David.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This is probably one of the best Streatfields. It was also one of my favorites growing up. It's probably because I had a better idea of what figure skating looked like than ballet, rather than the book actually being better, because Skating Shoes has a lot of familiar elements. Though they are very well done here; the Johnson family dynamic is great, and Harriet becoming a possibility through sheer coincidence and hard work is fun to read about. It's interesting that Streatfield casually has wea This is probably one of the best Streatfields. It was also one of my favorites growing up. It's probably because I had a better idea of what figure skating looked like than ballet, rather than the book actually being better, because Skating Shoes has a lot of familiar elements. Though they are very well done here; the Johnson family dynamic is great, and Harriet becoming a possibility through sheer coincidence and hard work is fun to read about. It's interesting that Streatfield casually has wealthy people sponsor poorer children's education so they can give whatever talent they may have - here, it's skating; for Margaret in Far to Go (I went on a Noel Streatfield binge today) it's acting - the time needed to develop it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    CLM

    The story of spider-like Harriet, recovering from illness, learning how to skate and becoming friends with Lalla Moore, who is destined to be a figure skating star, is one of my favorites. I probably read it for the first time in third grade and at least a dozen times since, including an unplanned reread today. This is a great read on Boxing Day! Here is a link to my review: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201... The story of spider-like Harriet, recovering from illness, learning how to skate and becoming friends with Lalla Moore, who is destined to be a figure skating star, is one of my favorites. I probably read it for the first time in third grade and at least a dozen times since, including an unplanned reread today. This is a great read on Boxing Day! Here is a link to my review: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Nostalgia read. I loved this series as a little girl and somehow missed this one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Gomes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Harriet’s leg and calf muscles are weak after a protracted illness, the Doctor prescribes skating lessons at the local rink to strengthen the muscles, problem is that although Harriet’s parents once come from affluent families, the riches have disappeared and George, Harriet’s Father now runs an extremely unsuccessful grocery store. Ineffective because George is forced to sell discards from his brother’s farm, so obviously there isn’t any money to rent skating shoes, this is when Alec, Harriet’s Harriet’s leg and calf muscles are weak after a protracted illness, the Doctor prescribes skating lessons at the local rink to strengthen the muscles, problem is that although Harriet’s parents once come from affluent families, the riches have disappeared and George, Harriet’s Father now runs an extremely unsuccessful grocery store. Ineffective because George is forced to sell discards from his brother’s farm, so obviously there isn’t any money to rent skating shoes, this is when Alec, Harriet’s older brother steps in, decides to do a paper round to pay for the rent of the skating shoes. Harriet’s family is a pleasant family, working very hard with their limited resources to have a decent life. At the rink, Harriet meets Lalla, the daughter of an extremely famous skater. Aunt Claudia, Lalla’s aunt has decided that Lalla should step into her dead Father’s shoes and be a famous skater just as he was. As they become friends, Aunt Claudia a go-getter-no-nonsense woman decides that Harriet should be a companion to Lalla to spur her on to greater heights as well as to be her admiring audience, because Lalla needs watchers to showcase her moves. It is a chance of a lifetime for Harriet to get everything she really could not afford in her own home, skating lessons, school work, ballet lessons, fencing lessons. As expected Harriet is grateful, extremely grateful, all she has to do is admire Lalla, nurture her, urge her to greater heights and be forever grateful. Here the author Noel Streatfield paints an amazing picture of what it is to be middle class, seen better days, be talented and not be able to do well for lack of money and to be grateful and grateful. Although not a word is spoken about gratitude, there is this hint as when the Nanny dresses Harriet in Lalla’s pink coat now too tight for Lalla always fearing Aunt Claudia might recognise the coat and Olivia, Harriet’s Mother says not a word, because all that Harriet has in the way of a ‘good dress’ is an old, velvet, brown dress. Or when nothing much is expected from Harriet in the way of skating, or lessons, or ballet, or fencing, because she is there to admire, nurture Lalla. Or when at the end Mr. King pays for rooms for the Johnsons at a beach. We get a taste of what happens when Harriet shines and gets her picture in the newspapers, Lalla flares in anger and tells her angrily that she would tell her Aunt Claudia that she Harriet was not required and that she would train on her own. Charity always needs humongous amounts of gratitude. The end I felt was contrived, I cannot imagine Aunt Claudia paying for a long and sustained training for Harriet, considering that Lalla is now in a certain way, out of the game, but it is a children’s book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    iamtedae

    This is by the author of the memorable "Shoes" books, an old favorite. It is, oddly enough, one of the two books not in the "Shoes" line named after footwear. Trivia, for those of you interested in such. Like the "Shoes" books, it focuses on a young, underprivileged heroine fortuitously encountering a greatly privileged counterpart and forging a friendship that benefits and develops both lives, surviving jealousy, etc. However, this particular story isn't up to Ms. Streatfeild's own level of achi This is by the author of the memorable "Shoes" books, an old favorite. It is, oddly enough, one of the two books not in the "Shoes" line named after footwear. Trivia, for those of you interested in such. Like the "Shoes" books, it focuses on a young, underprivileged heroine fortuitously encountering a greatly privileged counterpart and forging a friendship that benefits and develops both lives, surviving jealousy, etc. However, this particular story isn't up to Ms. Streatfeild's own level of achievement. It starts off in much the same tone and manner as the others I am familiar with, but not only does she seriously undermine the entertainment of the plot and characters by attempting to create a more serious tone and manner, but she fails to develop the young supporting characters in the manner to which we have become accustomed (it's all right if the grownups are fairly limited, dimensionally speaking, but her children are almost always very human and believable. I believe it's one of the ways we see she's a genius: she can make a fully-dimensioned, relatable human being in a very few words.) and she switches out the main character on us!!! And leaves the original main character off to the side like last year's birthday present. so sad. So, despite the usual cast of comfortable, lovable grownups, contrasting scary grownup, believable hardships overcome in a believable manner, whimsical and humorous narration, and clever little line drawings for illustration, I have to say this book is not nearly up to par, and pretty darn disappointing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    One of my favorite books as a kid! The story of two girls who become friends as they train together in figure skating, the one because she is the daughter of a famous skater, the other as a way to recuperate from a long illness. I loved everything about this book, the descriptions of the moves they were learning, their clothes, the dialogue . . . and what little girl hasn't dreamed of being an ice skater?! An utterly charming book! One of my favorite books as a kid! The story of two girls who become friends as they train together in figure skating, the one because she is the daughter of a famous skater, the other as a way to recuperate from a long illness. I loved everything about this book, the descriptions of the moves they were learning, their clothes, the dialogue . . . and what little girl hasn't dreamed of being an ice skater?! An utterly charming book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    I didn't care much for this book. I was interested to read it but found few of the events and characters engaging. There were too many situations and even phrases drawn from earlier books and too little actual explanation of what "brackets" or "edge work" was, for people like me who have never ice-skated (or rollerskated, come to that.) In the afterword, the author's son talks of the hours of painstaking research done at rinks--and yet none of that shows up in the text. It took me awhile to figu I didn't care much for this book. I was interested to read it but found few of the events and characters engaging. There were too many situations and even phrases drawn from earlier books and too little actual explanation of what "brackets" or "edge work" was, for people like me who have never ice-skated (or rollerskated, come to that.) In the afterword, the author's son talks of the hours of painstaking research done at rinks--and yet none of that shows up in the text. It took me awhile to figure out that a "one foot three" is a figure 3 done with only one foot. I mean, all the author had to do was say that Lalla didn't want to do her brackets "which involved doing this" in one sentence. Did she assume that all her readers knew as much as she discovered? Streatfeild continues her tradition of girls with odd names (Lalla? What is that?, "Santa" from Circus Shoes, "Posy and Petrova ", etc). The parents are present in this book but the fathers act like children--George (why couldn't she call Harriet's parents Mother and Father so as not to get him confused with the other boys?) can't do sums, earn enough to feed his family, or stand up to his selfish brother, and no one, particularly not her own husband, seems to be able to tell Aunt Claudia where to get off--though they all seem to be very good at manipulating her, which is odd considering what a control-freak she is. Lalla isn't a nice kid, and she doesn't improve on acquaintance. The governess, like David, is more interested in her cosily-feathered little nest than anything else. I found it extremely hard to believe that Aunt Claudia would pay for eeeeverything for Harriet, or that the rink owner and skating teacher would allow H. to continue to use their services free if Claudia decided to cut off the source of the freebies. But it's all wish-fulfillment fiction for little girls, rather like Ballet Shoes. Who wouldn't love to be let off going to school for over a year due to an unspecified illness, and find herself with free skating classes, free dancing classes, free fencing classes, and even all-expenses-paid vacations? And if she's well enough to dance AND fence AND skate, how is she not well enough to attend school?At least there is a good message about talent not being enough unless you put in the work to make it happen. I knew a lot of little girls who took dancing classes, baton twirling etc and coud have been contenders--but way before secondary school they were off to the next thing. Me, I've never had much in the way of talent, so I guess I have fewer regrets about the should-have-beens.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Like many children of the 1990s, I suspect, I was introduced to the "Shoes" books after my mom saw "You've Got Mail" and bought several of the books at the suggestion of Meg Ryan's character. It took some time, but I eventually fell in love with "Ballet Shoes" and then "Dancing Shoes"; I also came to enjoy "Theatre Shoes" and "Movie Shoes," though they didn't hold the same special place in my heart. For me, "Skating Shoes" was more like the latter two books. Maybe it was because I took so long t Like many children of the 1990s, I suspect, I was introduced to the "Shoes" books after my mom saw "You've Got Mail" and bought several of the books at the suggestion of Meg Ryan's character. It took some time, but I eventually fell in love with "Ballet Shoes" and then "Dancing Shoes"; I also came to enjoy "Theatre Shoes" and "Movie Shoes," though they didn't hold the same special place in my heart. For me, "Skating Shoes" was more like the latter two books. Maybe it was because I took so long to be read it or because I don't have the same personal attachment to figure skating as I do to the stage, but the book didn't quite satisfy my expectations. While the worlds of "Ballet Shoes" and "Dancing Shoes" come to life for me, "Skating Shoes" seemed not quite as fleshed out and the characters not so well-rounded, with the exception of Lalla. I suppose it didn't help, either, that the system of ranking and testing skaters has changed so much since the book was written; while I'm glad that the publisher didn't take the liberty of updating terms, it was slightly challenging at times to understand what each examination would test. I also felt that we didn't quite get inside Harriet's head enough to see her fall in love with skating--it all seemed to happen very suddenly. I would still reread and recommend the book, especially to young readers, but it isn't the finest example of Streatfeild's work to me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Brand

    What a lovely story! First published in 1951, this is a story for young girls about a spoilt only child who is destined to become the next skating star who receieves her comeuppance when she makes friends with a poor, ill child who is prescribed to take up skating to improve the strength in her legs. White Boots explores the friendship between the two girls, their winnings and failures as amateur skaters and the lifestyles of the two very different families. Streatfeild can write very humorously What a lovely story! First published in 1951, this is a story for young girls about a spoilt only child who is destined to become the next skating star who receieves her comeuppance when she makes friends with a poor, ill child who is prescribed to take up skating to improve the strength in her legs. White Boots explores the friendship between the two girls, their winnings and failures as amateur skaters and the lifestyles of the two very different families. Streatfeild can write very humorously sometimes, considering this book was written in the 50s. In general, just a lovely children's book. 9/10

  19. 4 out of 5

    Louise Culmer

    Harriet Johnson is recovering from a serious illness and is still very weak. Her doctor recommends that she take up ice skating to strengthen her legs. The Johnsons are very hard up, but the doctor knows the manager of the local ice.rink and says he will let Harriet skate for free, she will only have to pay for the hire of the skates and boots. Even that is too much for the Johnsons to manage, so Harriet's oldest brother Alec does a paper round to pay for the hire or the boots and skates. At the Harriet Johnson is recovering from a serious illness and is still very weak. Her doctor recommends that she take up ice skating to strengthen her legs. The Johnsons are very hard up, but the doctor knows the manager of the local ice.rink and says he will let Harriet skate for free, she will only have to pay for the hire of the skates and boots. Even that is too much for the Johnsons to manage, so Harriet's oldest brother Alec does a paper round to pay for the hire or the boots and skates. At the first day at the rink, Harriet is dismayed to find the hired boots are ugly brown boots with a green stripe painted on them, not the beautiful white boots she sees others wearing. But sh e has a bit of luck, she meets pretty, high spirited Lalla Moore, the daughter of a famous figure skater. Since his death, Lalla's ambitious Aunt Claudia has brought Lalla up to be a figure skater, dreaming of when her niece will be a champion like her father, and she, Aunt Claudia, will bask in her reflected.glory. Lalla helps Harriet with her skating, and the two girls become friends. Meanwhile Alec is saving the leftover money from his paper round to buy fruit and vegetables.for his father's provision store. The father, George Johnson, sells things that his brother William sends from the country, the trouble is William is greedy and keeps.all the best things to eat himself. Alec hopes to.improve the stock. George Johnson is pretty hopeless. Devoted to his brother, he won't hear a word against him, despite the fact that the shop is stocked only with things William doesn't want. You wonder how the charming Olivia Johnson came to be married to such a hopelessly ineffectual type. However ,George aside, the Johnson family are delightful, and it is easy to see why Lalla is happy to know them. Lalla.even begins to wonder if there might be more to life than skating after all. My favourite character in the book is Lalla's governess, Miss Goldthorpe, who doesn't care much for skating: "She thought skating rinks nasty, cold, damp places, and she could not.imagine why anyone, unless forced like Lalla to do so, wanted to spend their time going round and round on ice, when they could spend it reading interesting books.". A delightful story, you don't have to love skating to love this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This is part of Streatfeild’s well known “Shoes” series, and one I don’t remember reading as a child. While the personalities are well drawn, I felt that the whole part of the main family being poor was unnecessary. It’s a contrast with the rich, slightly spoiled girl. It just didn’t add anything to the story. The poor girl, Harriet, is instructed to take skating lessons to give her some strength after an unnamed long illness. She becomes friends with the star of the skating rink, the aforesaid This is part of Streatfeild’s well known “Shoes” series, and one I don’t remember reading as a child. While the personalities are well drawn, I felt that the whole part of the main family being poor was unnecessary. It’s a contrast with the rich, slightly spoiled girl. It just didn’t add anything to the story. The poor girl, Harriet, is instructed to take skating lessons to give her some strength after an unnamed long illness. She becomes friends with the star of the skating rink, the aforesaid rich kid named Lalla. Harriet, whose name even feels plain compared to “Lalla”, works hard at the skating and is innately talented at it. How to solve the problem of Harriet suddenly appearing better than Lalla, who is supposed to be the star? Read to find the solution. The supporting characters were the best drawn. The cheerful sensible mother, the ignored but loving and kind uncle, the kind doctor who is not prepared to be fooled, the employer who takes a hand in helping Harriet’s brother carry out his dream. The governess and Nana are also well drawn characters. Once you’ve read a few of these “Shoes” stories, you pretty much know what to expect. I loved them as a kid. And I sat down and read this one in pretty much one sitting. These books are just what kids often want: a predictable story but with enough individuality that kids have comfortable surprises but nothing overwhelmingly earth shaking. This was perfect reading for today for me. Nothing earth shaking to face, just a new possible career for Harriet and an escape from the scary boring world of a pandemic. Recommended especially for kids who want books based on the arts and sports or who liked others in this series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    3.5 Stars There's something ever so cozy about Streatfeild's Shoes series. I am pretty sure that my love for children's British literature has a lot to do with Noel Streatfeild. I loved Ballet Shoes, Dancing Shoes, and Family Shoes when I was young. When I discovered this beautiful edition of Skating Shoes in a children's book store in NYC, I had to buy it for my daughter and read it myself. Skating Shoes takes a lot longer to get moving than other Shoes novels, but I loved that I could hear so c 3.5 Stars There's something ever so cozy about Streatfeild's Shoes series. I am pretty sure that my love for children's British literature has a lot to do with Noel Streatfeild. I loved Ballet Shoes, Dancing Shoes, and Family Shoes when I was young. When I discovered this beautiful edition of Skating Shoes in a children's book store in NYC, I had to buy it for my daughter and read it myself. Skating Shoes takes a lot longer to get moving than other Shoes novels, but I loved that I could hear so clearly the charming British accents among friends Harriet and Lalla. I wanted to have Nana knit for me and make me tea. There is something so comforting in moving along in the British rhythms of the day. Skating Shoes is more about two friends learning school figures than working on free skating and school figures, as Lalla knows, are somewhat tedious and often dull. The skating isn't really what makes this book great. It's more about the transformation of a lonely girl (Lalla) and what happens when she meets Harriet and how two friends can open up the world of possibilities to each other.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Antipodean Bookclub

    this is the story of Harriet who has been unwell and bed bound for a little while leaving her with legs like “cotton-wool.” Her doctor suggests ice-skating to regain her strength. At her local rink she meets Lalla Moore, the daughter of a famous figure skater, who is expected to uphold her father’s legacy and become a world champion. Like Ballet Shoes, this is a children’s novel and it was first published in 1951. I enjoy Noel Streatfeild’s writing as there’s a level of pragmatism that stops her this is the story of Harriet who has been unwell and bed bound for a little while leaving her with legs like “cotton-wool.” Her doctor suggests ice-skating to regain her strength. At her local rink she meets Lalla Moore, the daughter of a famous figure skater, who is expected to uphold her father’s legacy and become a world champion. Like Ballet Shoes, this is a children’s novel and it was first published in 1951. I enjoy Noel Streatfeild’s writing as there’s a level of pragmatism that stops her stories slipping into twee sentimentality. Ballet Shoes remains my favourite, but mainly because I always wanted to be a ballet dancer rather than a figure skater

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karyn

    Cute story but Ballet Shoes will always be my favorite. This one seemed to have a good start, but drag at the end with little story development. Some might avoid it all together but don't. Though it may not be fantastic Streatfeild is a wonderful story teller and you don't see the like anymore. Cute story but Ballet Shoes will always be my favorite. This one seemed to have a good start, but drag at the end with little story development. Some might avoid it all together but don't. Though it may not be fantastic Streatfeild is a wonderful story teller and you don't see the like anymore.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    The best in this series for me, so far. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2021/0... The best in this series for me, so far. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2021/0...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kellynn Wee

    I read this growing up and have revisited it over the years. This time, coming back to it, I find myself deeply empathetic for poor vivid madamish overwhelmed Lalla, caught in an adult world frozen in memorial to her father, and in love with Harriet's comfortable bustling teasing tumbling family, with her entrepreneurial and industrious brothers, and her splendid, loving mother. I love how all the characters--Max Lindblom, Sam, Miss Goldthorpe, Nana--who make up the adult cast of the book are al I read this growing up and have revisited it over the years. This time, coming back to it, I find myself deeply empathetic for poor vivid madamish overwhelmed Lalla, caught in an adult world frozen in memorial to her father, and in love with Harriet's comfortable bustling teasing tumbling family, with her entrepreneurial and industrious brothers, and her splendid, loving mother. I love how all the characters--Max Lindblom, Sam, Miss Goldthorpe, Nana--who make up the adult cast of the book are all so distinctive and sympathetic and themselves interesting, and I love how much they loved and were interested in the children under their care. But I couldn't help also feeling the rather unfinished quality of the book, where the ending is abrupt and unsatisfactory and the pacing is odd. I wanted to see Harriet take her inter-silver and I wanted to see where the brothers' garden plot (literally) went, and I wanted to see Lalla blossom as a performer.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    Read this when I was younger hundreds of times, so it has to be one of my favourites :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Zen Cho

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is one of the very few books that I reread a million times as a child, but have not really read since, so I only remembered the broad outline of the plot, and didn't necessarily know what was going to happen next at every turn. I enjoyed that so much -- it was like reading it for the first time, but even better because I was already primed for the satisfying emotional moments, even if I couldn't remember what they consisted of. There's a lot I missed as a kid -- that Lalla is the main charac This is one of the very few books that I reread a million times as a child, but have not really read since, so I only remembered the broad outline of the plot, and didn't necessarily know what was going to happen next at every turn. I enjoyed that so much -- it was like reading it for the first time, but even better because I was already primed for the satisfying emotional moments, even if I couldn't remember what they consisted of. There's a lot I missed as a kid -- that Lalla is the main character, for example, because Harriet is easier to identify with as a bookish kid who was quiet around strangers. The rationing, because it's just after WW2. The way the male adults are constantly smoking in the presence of kids! I wish Harriet were better fleshed out -- you are told she becomes more interesting all of a sudden towards the end of the book, but Streatfeild doesn't really tell you *how* she becomes more interesting. But Lalla is such a great character. And all the skating jargon is amazing. I loved Streatfeild's books so much as a kid because the kids all had real work that was important. And I like how White Boots has lots of different examples of the work you could do, and enjoy or value in different ways -- Lalla and Harriet's different kinds of skating, Alec's paper round (which he does and takes pride in because it's getting him to his dreams) and market garden (which is his vocation), Toby's being a pain about numbers. Also what I didn't have as a kid reading this book was YouTube, and I've finally figured out the difference between Harriet's kind of skating and Lalla's kind. For my own future reference, a video of people doing compulsory figures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iSDbt... Which I find really charming, and it explains why Harriet can be stiff and withdrawn and serious and still be a better skater than Lalla.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I spent much of my childhood reading and rereading the Ballet Shoes/Dancing Shoes/Theater Shoes trifecta with NO KNOWLEDGE that there were more????? Obviously I'm no longer really the right age for these, and as an adult the particular patterns in the books are all more obvious (the kindly doctor! the domineering and/or unpleasant mother figure! the kindly father figure who means well but refuses to stand up to the domineering and/or unpleasant mother figure! the unexpected child rising from beh I spent much of my childhood reading and rereading the Ballet Shoes/Dancing Shoes/Theater Shoes trifecta with NO KNOWLEDGE that there were more????? Obviously I'm no longer really the right age for these, and as an adult the particular patterns in the books are all more obvious (the kindly doctor! the domineering and/or unpleasant mother figure! the kindly father figure who means well but refuses to stand up to the domineering and/or unpleasant mother figure! the unexpected child rising from behind to suddenly be the star!) but they're still charming even if they are decidedly from a particular age. This was also charming! I don't think it's quite as charming as the others I've read though, but I undoubtedly have nostalgia filters on.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    I was talking to a friend about books we loved as children and she mentioned the " shoe" series by Noel Streatfeild. She was so enthusiastic about them that I thought I would read one. I picked " Skating Shoes" because I loved to skate as a child. The main character in the book, Harriet, was told by the doctor that she needed to skate to strengthen her legs. Coincidentally, I was told I needed to skate to strengthen my ankles! So of course I identified with Harriet right away! That is where any I was talking to a friend about books we loved as children and she mentioned the " shoe" series by Noel Streatfeild. She was so enthusiastic about them that I thought I would read one. I picked " Skating Shoes" because I loved to skate as a child. The main character in the book, Harriet, was told by the doctor that she needed to skate to strengthen her legs. Coincidentally, I was told I needed to skate to strengthen my ankles! So of course I identified with Harriet right away! That is where any similarities ended , however, and the rest of the story is packed with interesting characters, sub-plots and plot twists! A good story!

  30. 4 out of 5

    all__things__books

    This was such a quick and easy read so I really got to think about and take in the plot and the characters. I loved them! I really felt a connection to each character, from Alec’s market garden dreams to Lalla’s skating passion I really wanted their dreams to come true! When we were first introduced to Lalla I thought she would be like a stereotypical wealthy only child but soon found out I was wrong and she was lovely to Harriet! Though as the book progressed and she performed at galas and had a This was such a quick and easy read so I really got to think about and take in the plot and the characters. I loved them! I really felt a connection to each character, from Alec’s market garden dreams to Lalla’s skating passion I really wanted their dreams to come true! When we were first introduced to Lalla I thought she would be like a stereotypical wealthy only child but soon found out I was wrong and she was lovely to Harriet! Though as the book progressed and she performed at galas and had articles in the paper written about her it was really interesting to she how her personality changed.

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