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Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire Hardcover – September 25, 2007

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roxane Orgill is an award-winning writer whose music reviews and articles have appeared in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, the NEW YORK TIMES, and BILLBOARD. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Stéphane Jorisch has illustrated many books for children, including Lewis Carroll’s JABBERWOCKY, ANANCY AND THE HAUNTED HOUSE: AN ORIGINAL STORY, and I REMEMBER MISS PERRY. He lives in Montréal.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763621218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763621216
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,791,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire is a children's picturebook biography of the early years of celebrated singer, dancer, and movie star Fred Astaire and his older sister Adele Astaire. When both siblings were young, they had to work hard learning to dance and perform for vaudeville theater; the money they brought in helped support their family, and in hard times dinner might be no more than a single egg split between the two of them. In their youth, Adele was recognized as the better performer when both were children; Fred labored to match her natural talent, and honed his creativity inventing new acts to perform. They grew up together, and when Adele chose to get married and retire from dancing, Fred faced a whole new challenge - he'd almost always performed with her before; now he had to face the stage by himself. He dared to venture to Hollywood, and so began his legendary film career. The illustrations are upbeat without making light of the hard times of the Great Depression, and the text of Footwork is just involved enough to be suitable for young readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carl LaFong on February 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this book tells the story of Fred and Adele Astaire in a way that kids understand, but it doesn't give a child any reason to care about them. It reads like a resumé -- "first they did this, then they did that, then they did the other thing."
The illustrations are nice out of context, but a ghastly choice for this particular subject. Perhaps the rubbery style was supposed to suggest the fluidity of dance, but it simply makes the dancers look formless and off balance, everything that the Astaires were not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on May 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In 35 pages of text and lively illustration, young readers (I'd say this book is perfect for ages 8-11) are introduced to siblings Adele and Fred Astaire, as they take their pint-sized waltz and tango act across America. The writing is clear and straightforward ("Adele was dainty and had a pixie smile. Fred was bony, and his ears were enormous"(23).)and just right for the intended audience

The story wraps up when Adele leaves the act and Fred is making his way to Hollywood. Since the title says the story is about both of them, I guess that is only fair, but I wouldn't have minded bit more about Fred's life after that (it's covered in half of a page.) I am not a big fan of reading on electronic devices, but this is one book where I could totally get into being able to click a link while reading and see Fred in action.

The writing is punchy and easy to follow. I came away feeling quite awed by the amount of work Fred (and sometimes Adele) put into making the dancing look easy. In the author's note, Fred is quoted as saying "Hard work is great fun" and this book shows he gave more than lip service to that statement.

I would suggest this book to anyone who loves to move (dancers, cheerleaders, gymnasts), kids pursing a sport or skill that takes a lot of practice, and any 'tween who is pursuing a slightly off-beat dream (A boy? Dancing?)

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: sent to me by the publisher
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By Debbie S. Glade on September 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Footwork is the story of how Fred Astaire rose to fame. It was Fred's older sister, Adele, who was the dancer in the family. But after watching his sister so often, Fred really wanted to dance, too. Eventually their mother took them to New York to get dancing lessons, which led them to Vaudeville. But after they started getting a bit older, audiences were no longer interested in their craft. It was Fred's unfaltering desire to succeed as well as his love of dance that helped him rise above his challenges and also rise to world-wide fame.

I enjoyed the cheerful watercolor illustrations by Stephane Jorisch, and found they really enhanced the story. So many chapter books do not have illustrations, but I always prefer when they do.

Footwork shows young readers that great accomplishments require dedication and hard, hard work, perhaps the best lesson that we can teach our kids. For most people, shortcuts are not a realistic way to achieve success. And by reading about the long, tough road Fred Astaire took to become the best dancer in America, they, too, will be inspired to work hard at whatever it is they wish to do. After all , there are no awards in the real world for mediocrity. Fred Astaire became the best at what he did by taking one step at a time, with no shortcuts, no favors and no "luck." He paved his own way and by doing so teaches us that there's simply no replacement for plain old hard work.
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By Ohioan on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, though I liked the author's picture book on Louis Armstrong better. This one, the story of Fred and Adele Astaire and their lives as young dancers, is interesting in its history. I enjoyed learning about the times they lived in, how they traveled, how they worked, for whom they worked. But I just didn't find the story that riveting.
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