Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Scarlet Stockings:The Enchanted Riddle by Charlotte Kandel

Daphne has been at St. Jude’s for thirteen long years. The only snippet of her story that she knows is that she was laid on the doorstep with a note attached with three simple words on it, “my name’s Daphne”. Daphne’s dream is to become a ballerina. Her dream seems farfetched until a package arrives in the mail with a book entitled “How to Teach Yourself Ballet” and a pair of scarlet stockings. On the inside cover of the book is a mysterious riddle that perplexes Daphne. She loves her gift and soon realizes that the stockings hold magical powers. She only wishes now that she had more time to dance.
Daphne doesn’t think her life could get much better, and then she finds out that she is to be adopted by the local vegetable stand owners. The Greens are just the nicest people around and are gracious to have Daphne in their home. As a surprise the Green’s take Daphne to see a production of Swan Lake with the amazing Ova Andova dancing the leading role. Daphne is star-struck and realizes that she has to be a ballerina. Another surprise awaits her as the Green’s inform her that she will soon be taking ballet lessons. Daphne is overjoyed, until the day she goes to lessons. Her teacher acts like a witch and deflates all of Daphne’s dreams of becoming a ballerina. She knows that she can’t be that bad and soon sets off to make her dream come true.
One day while scanning the newspaper she finds an ad that shocks her. The famous Magda Magellan is looking for a personal assistant. Daphne knows this is her ticket into fame and secretly goes to London to apply for the position. She is delighted when she lands the job, but doesn’t know how to break it to her new parents. When they agree to let her take the position she knows that she will soon become a great dancer. With the help of the scarlet stockings and a few of Magda’s contacts, Daphne hopes she will succeed. Will she become a famous ballerina?

Even though this book is geared for younger readers (9-12 year olds) I thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlotte Kandel did a great job creating her characters, especially Daphne. I felt like I wanted Daphne as my best friend. I loved how Mrs. Kandel made each character come to life. It felt like I was actually watching the book come to life. Each character’ accented voice could be heard through their conversations, making you feel like you were standing right there beside them. I found this very refreshing. The message in the book was great too. Encouraging people not to give up on their dreams is huge, because without dreams you wouldn’t be reading this review on a computer. There was also an essence of mystery, which I absolutely adore. All in all this was a great first novel and I am anxious to learn what becomes of Daphne next.

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