#PPBF/ Footwork, the Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

Dear Friends!

Happy Friday! And I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead, with warm weather and sun. I hope to do our regular Saturday thing of scheduling my blog posts and then going for a walk to one of our favorite restaurants, sipping Chia Tea on the way home. What do you like doing on Saturdays?

Another event is Perfect Picture Book Fridays where in I love visiting other PPBF posts and reading about a different picture book on each site. Usually they are the best pick of the lot. And usually I go away from this with a whole bag full of holds in my library account. Reading as many good picture books as I can will hopefully pay off in gold as I write picture book manuscripts. I hope some of that writing will rub off on me. Now for this weeks PPBF for me.

#PPBF/ Footwork, the Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

Footwork, book cover__Title: Footwork, the Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

Author and Illustrator: Roxane Orgill / Stephane Jorisch

Themes: Biography, Nonfiction, Ballet, history

Resources: This book is not on You Tube but a lot of Fred and Adele ballets are. Here is one showing Fred’s totally perfect timing and how diverse he was. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfyXPONE7Ws

Here is a Q and A with Roxane Orgil about her picture book biography, Footwork: https://www.teachervision.com/authors/printable/65211.html

On another tack one could ask if your students are taking ballet and discuss why they think it should just be for girls or if boys could do it too and then launch into reading about Fred and Adele.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years /Grade Level: 1 – 4  Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition, First Printing edition (September 25, 2007)

 Summary: From Amazon : “In 1905, four-and-a-half-year-old Fred Astaire put on his first pair of dancing shoes — and from that moment, his life was filled with singing, dancing, and fancy footwork. Fred’s older sister, Adele, was the real dancer, but Fred worked hard to get all the steps just right, and it wasn’t long before he was the one capturing headlines and stealing the show. In this fascinating story of child stars who hoof their way to knockout success on Broadway and beyond, Roxane Orgill and Stéphane Jorisch team up for a bravura performance, capturing the sophistication, fluidity, and grace of two of the biggest names in dance history.”

First Three Sentences: “One day, while Fred Astaire was waiting for his sister, Adele, to finish dancing class, he saw a pair of ballet shoes in the corner. He put them on and walked on his toes. He was four and a half.”

Why I loved this book: The art is period so it brings home to the reader just how different Fred and Adele’s world really was. It starts out, not saying much about the parents, but about how good at ballet Fred and Adele were. Then, “Suitcases were packed, and one morning in 1908…” just like it might be a big ole story to tell. And what a story it is. Orgill explains how Fred was the one to really study what made the show good and that ‘father’ listened to him. And she makes sure the reader realizes it was not an overnight success. They had to work hard. Practice over and over. Start small and work up. Important lessons.

As Adele and Fred grow into teens, they had to take a break from the stage and did not return till they were more graceful. It was 1917 when they were offered a chance to be in a musical on Broadway in NY city. Then they went to England and preformed for the Prince.

It was a lovely true story book.

IF you would like to join others in Perfect Picture Book Friday’s check outSusanna’s web site.

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And don’t forget: you can still order my true picture bookEdmund Pickle Chin, A Rescue Donkey Story on Amazon /


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About ClaraBowmanJahn

I have two picture books out by eTp, Annie's Special Day and Edmund Pickle Chin which I wrote with my friend, Susan April Elwood in Georgia where she has Evermay Rescue Farm, Edmund's home. I live with my brilliant husband in rural Loudoun County, Virginia, an hour away from DC, with too many cats and a wood stove.
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18 Responses to #PPBF/ Footwork, the Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

  1. I love Fred Astaire. I knew nothing about his background and how he got started dancing. What a fabulous book for young dancers! The illustrations really look lovely!

  2. I read this one when it first came out. It is terrific. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Hope you had a wonderful Saturday! Another great pick!!

  4. This book looks fabulous! I must see if our library has it.

  5. Ellen Leventhal says:

    I love that you included the first three sentences. It’s always a good reminder about how important they are. And I definitely love these three! Thanks!

  6. Patricia Nozell says:

    So glad you highlighted a non-fiction PB this week; I really need to read more of these & this one will definitely be on my list.

  7. Erik - TKRB says:

    That’s really nice! I bet I’d like this book! Great pick!

  8. I posted a comment last week and I see it didn’t go through. I loved Fred Astaire as a child. His dancing was magic. Such a great share.

  9. This is my third try to post a comment. Don’t know why last week’s or my comment today didn’t go through. I loved Fred Astaire as a child! His dancing was magic. Such a great share

  10. I just realized none of my comments over the weeks have gone through. Thought I was already a member. Signed up again. I really loved Fred Astaire as a child. His dancing was magic. Great choice.

  11. Just realized that my comments haven’t been posted for weeks. Thought I was a member. Rejoined. Hope this one goes through.

    I loved Fred Astaire as a child. His dancing was magic! Lovely share!

  12. Another great NF PB I have yet to get my hands on… thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

  13. Oh, my dear friend loves these two stars – must see if I can get it for her!

  14. Kirsten Larson says:

    Fred Astaire is one of my favorites. I still love Singing in the Rain. This sounds like the perfect PB bio for me.

  15. This looks lovely. We like dancing in our house, so hopefully we’ll find this one at the library.

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