Noel Streatfeild The Junior Bookshelf - Essay

The Junior Bookshelf

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The sad thing about [White Boots] is that it does not ring true, and that is disappointing from the writer who made that strange story of the Fossils (in Ballet Shoes) so completely credible and satisfying. It is about two just ten-year olds: Lalla, rich but an orphan, cared for by an ambitious Aunt and a Nanny who has far less body to her than that delightful woman who looked after the Fossils—and Harriet whose family has come down in the world and now lives (parents and four children) in a shop that, by this account, would hardly have kept six hungry cats alive, let alone six humans. Harriet is given the run of a skating rink, free (as you are told rather often) because her doctor knew the owner…. Lalla, child of a famous skater, is to be a great ice champion and goes to the same rink regularly for coaching and practise. The girls meet. The limelight hovers now on Lalla, now Harriet; but instead of showing them more strongly, the effect is weakening and one feels that the author was never quite certain what she meant to do with them. The characters are not consistent and I felt the basic realities were unreliable. (pp. 226-27)

"For Children from Ten to Fourteen: 'White Boots'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 15, No. 5, November, 1951, pp. 226-27.