Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
Candlewick Press 2007. Ages 6-10.
978-0-7636-2121-6 $17.99 U.S. ($22.50 CAN)
“Candlewick Biographies” edition 2013.
Hardcover: 978-0-7636-6460-2 $14.99 ($17.00 CAN)
Paperback: 978-0-7636-6215-8 $4.99 ($6.00 CAN)
Fred Astaire put on his first pair of dancing shoes at four and a half, but his older sister, Adele with the pixie smile, was considered the real dancer in the family. When the two siblings left home to study dancing and singing in vaudeville, and later toured the country with their own act, Fred was only along for the ride—at first. Footwork tells how Fred worked hard to get all the steps just right until he was the one stealing the show.
red star“a class act” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
red star“Orgill’s text … brims with well-chosen biographical and period details, and Jorisch’s whisperweight line-and-watercolor drawings … convey the fizz of Astaire’s footwork as well as the gritty backdrop of steam trains and stage doors.” —Booklist, starred review
Awards and Honors
Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People,
    awarded by the National Council for the Social Studies and Children’s Book Council
In New York, Fred followed Adele up the narrow, dark stairs to the fourth floor of the Grand Opera House. He had lessons at the Claude Alvienne dancing school, too. He liked the stick that white-haired Mr. Alvienne tapped against a wooden chair to keep time. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
After only about a year, Mr. Alvienne wanted to put Adele and Fred in a show. He dressed them up as a bride and groom, and they tap-danced on top of a pair of wooden wedding cakes built especially for them. The cakes had flashing lights, and bells that they played with their hands and feet. Then Fred changed into a lobster costume, and Adele dressed up as a champagne glass, and they played more tunes on the cakes and danced on their toes.
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