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


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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: 10.7 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,471,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Both Balanchine and Nueyev called Fred Astaire the best dancer of the 20th century. Even today, some two decades after his death, he is well remembered when one of his 30 movie musicals is shown on television, and he is still considered to be one of the world's most debonair gentlemen, an icon of male fashion. We think of Fred and Ginger, as together with Ginger Rogers he made ten memorable films. But, how many remember that his first dancing partner was his sister, Adele?

She was the one considered to be a born dancer. So, in 1905 Adele (age 7), Fred (age 5) and their mother boarded a train for New York City so Adele could attend dancing school. Father remained in Omaha where he worked for a brewery.

Fred joined his sister in taking lessons and before long their instructor put them in a show, as a bride and groom who "tap-danced on top of a pair of wooden wedding cakes." At that time vaudeville was all the rage, and the talented youngsters soon won a spot on the vaudeville circuit. Mother, daughter and son began traveling from town, eventually returning to Omaha where they were enthusiastically received. At that time, Adele was the star of the act.

However, the time came when they were no longer children, not "adorable little kids," so they were reduced to playing on a small-time circuit. Times were tough as they shared the stage with trained seals. But they worked hard, perfected new acts and finally won the hearts of theater goers. They were offered a part in a Broadway show in 1917. Success followed success until in 1932 Adele announced her intention to marry and retire - they had danced together for almost 30 years.

Shortly thereafter Fred flew to Hollywood and the rest is cinema history.

Footwork is a charming biography of a persevering family, his talented sister, and the man many consider to have had the most influence on movie musicals. Who else danced on a wall?

- Gail Cooke
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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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