Age Range: 11 - 14
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In this cousin to Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes, Daphne, a 13-year-old British orphan, is determined to become a prima ballerina. Rescued from the wickedly mean Sister Pauline Emmanuel and the Orphanage of St. Jude, she is adopted by a family with a produce business. Daphne’s destiny is dependent on successfully solving a riddle contained in a package with a pair of scarlet silk stockings she mysteriously receives just before her adoption. The stockings have strange magical qualities that influence Daphne’s choice in life to train for the ballet stage. Kandel, a former publicist on Broadway and in Hollywood, takes the reader back to 1923 London, Paris and the English countryside depicting the upper echelons of the theatrical and lower-working-class communities. She colors her dialogue with cockney pronunciations and Russian-accented spellings and offers suspense and pathos with the jealous and viciously malicious reigning Russian “prima ballerina assoluta,” Ova Andova, who literally tries to kill her young rival. Daphne, melodramatic upon the discovery of her true lineage, recovers to a renewed dancing career, leaving readers with a hint of anticipation for a sequel in the wings. Themes of self-esteem, perseverance, hard work and family values embraced in an old-fashioned thriller/mystery. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-525-47824-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2007