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Circus Shoes [Paperback]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another of the wonderful SHOES books May 23 2000
Format:Paperback
Do you remember when the Meg Ryan character walked into Tom Hanks' FOX BOOKS store and the customer asked about the "Shoes" books, and a monologue about the wonders of Noel Streatfeild's "Shoes" books ensued, touching on Dancing Shoes, Ballet Shoes, and Skating Shoes, which is absolutely wonderful? That scene made me break down crying, because I had never heard anyone other than myself talk about these terrific books, and the fact that it is tragic that they are mostly out of print and hard to find. This book is a wonderful story of working hard for a goal, and accomplishing it, or at least getting on the road to achieving a reasonable, yet magical, goal. If you want a great book for your favorite elementary school girl, buy this one - then buy the other "Shoes" books (and get a copy of Tennis Shoes for your favorite boy too!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars my very favorite streatfield book Oct. 7 1999
Format:Paperback
this sweet story of two children who go to live with their uncle in the circus community is a look into a way of life many never see. as a child it fascinated me and as an adult i still have it on my list of "to reread books". if you can find it you will not be disappointed!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my very favorite streatfield book Oct. 7 1999
By deborah h. bryant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
this sweet story of two children who go to live with their uncle in the circus community is a look into a way of life many never see. as a child it fascinated me and as an adult i still have it on my list of "to reread books". if you can find it you will not be disappointed!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These shoes really fit! Sept. 7 2004
By firle sussex - Published on Amazon.com
This was my very favorite book as a child. Its ability to transport you to a wonderful world and still be able to relate to its characters was a true joy. I loved all the "Shoe" books but this was my very favorite and I read it several times until the librarian at school made me return it. Subsequently I tried in vain to emulate the back flips and tumbles the characters in the book so effortlessly master. This book speaks to the heart of the child. I have passed it on to my daughter and she has found the magic in the "Shoes" as well. Find it, read it, pass it on.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another of the wonderful SHOES books May 23 2000
By Heidi Tandy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Do you remember when the Meg Ryan character walked into Tom Hanks' FOX BOOKS store and the customer asked about the "Shoes" books, and a monologue about the wonders of Noel Streatfeild's "Shoes" books ensued, touching on Dancing Shoes, Ballet Shoes, and Skating Shoes, which is absolutely wonderful? That scene made me break down crying, because I had never heard anyone other than myself talk about these terrific books, and the fact that it is tragic that they are mostly out of print and hard to find. This book is a wonderful story of working hard for a goal, and accomplishing it, or at least getting on the road to achieving a reasonable, yet magical, goal. If you want a great book for your favorite elementary school girl, buy this one - then buy the other "Shoes" books (and get a copy of Tennis Shoes for your favorite boy too!)
4.0 out of 5 stars A book like no other April 9 2014
By Constance Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of Streatfeild's /Shoes/ books from way back: I had Ballet and Movie when I was a kid in the 80s, and have read a few more since then. This book is different from any of the others. In general, Streatfeild is pretty gentle with her protagonists. While a character might be grouchy and untalented (cf Jane in /Movie Shoes/) the author still grants that child with some saving graces. Not so Peter and Santa, the orphans of /Circus Shoes/. Due to their being raised by an idiot aunt, they have reached the ages of 11 and 12 as complete idiots, a fact that Streatfeild points out several times per chapter. There is something sadly hilarious about how stupid and talentless these kids are. They have nothing--literally, nothing--besides their love for each other. They suck at school and lack any sort of street smarts. They have no physical abilities; 12-year-old Peter literally cannot catch a slow lob. They have trouble relating to other human beings all of whom, they've been taught, are beneath them. They are colossal snobs, a trait that shines through in everything they do, including how they dress, talk, and walk. In short, they are practically irredeemable. But Streatfeild is not as cruel as all that: she kills the idiot aunt and sends Peter and Santa to the one atmosphere that could possibly kick them into shape.

When they go "tenting" with their uncle Gus, a true "artiste," they learn the values of circus folk: hard work and more hard work. Pride is taken only in perfect accomplishment. Everyone is equal, and no one is grander than anyone else. Most importantly, the circus people tell Peter and Santa, in no uncertain terms, the things they need to hear, that they are, in fact, idiots. However, they are not inherently idiots. Only the idiotic things they learned from their aunt make them stupid, and correspondingly, if they choose to open their minds, they can learn not to be idiots.

For a kids' book, it's pretty long, because Streatfeild shows Peter and Santa learning everything there is to know about big top life. There are pages and pages dedicated to putting up and taking down the big top. Even more space is dedicated to animal training and psychology, along with some good discussions of various types of acrobatics. And of course, we also see the performances through Peter and Santa's eyes: the first time they ever see the circus, and then, later, when they've learned something about it, more in depth understanding of the art.

Despite their obvious deficiencies, the reader is constantly rooting for the kids. Not, as in the other Shoes books, for the kids to achieve the professional artistic success toward which they have worked for so long, but simply for the kids to join the human race. When Peter learns to ride a horse, it's a great relief, because it's troubling he literally cannot do anything else and, as a reader, you don't want to believe that he's that useless. When Santa learns that she must practice with a will in order to become a true performer, it's a fitting cap to end the softness that characterizes her life up until that point. We're talking about a kid who takes almost 200 pages to realize that she can braid her hair to keep it out of her face.

The only possible ending to this story is for Peter and Santa to transform, completely, in circus performers, but Streatfeild, as she does, saves this climax for the very, very, very ending of the book (there's no denouement), nearly breaking the reader's heart as s/he contemplates how badly Peter and Santa will suck at anything else they set their hands to.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars circus shoes Oct. 29 2005
By E. M. Bristol - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Despite the fact that I love the Shoes books, I found this one completely one-dimensional and dull. The author is at her best, I think, when she is creating characters who excel at theater or ballet. Though she did an adequate job describing the Big Top, that the two protagonists run away from home to join their uncle at, all the characters were paper thin, including the protagonists. The only thing we learn about the girl is that she has long blonde hair, and the boy does not even rate a physical description. We learn that they're sheltered, but they don't really change from beginning to end. I much prefer Dancing Shoes, Tennis Shoes or Theater Shoes.
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