Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

Roxanne Orgill
Illustrator:  Stephane Jorisch 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Candlewick Press, 2007   ISBN: 0763621218

When Fred Astaire was only five years old, he, his sister Adele, and their mother left their home in Omaha so that Adele could take dancing lessons in New York City. Though Adele was the dancing star of the family, Fred took lessons as well, and it wasn’t long before Adele and Fred were part of the vaudeville scene, performing in theatres all over the country. The children were a great sensation and for a few years, all went well. Then Fred and Adele’s parents decided to give the children a break and they were both able to live normal lives, going to school and making friends.

After two years, Fred and Adele went back to work. This time they were not a success at all. Times were very hard for a while until a new dancing teacher, Aurelia Coccia, was found. Aurelia taught the young Astaires how to finesse their act so that it was more sophisticated. The change was just what Fred and Adele needed, and their new careers took off.

This beautifully written story will delight young people who have an interest in dance, theatre, and the movies. It is interesting to find out that the dapper and polished Fred Astaire did not always have an easy time of it. He, like so many great artists, worked very hard for his successes.

Throughout this book, wonderfully expressive multimedia illustrations beautifully compliment the text