Chloe Learns a Lesson (Stage School) by Holly Skeet

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Chloe Learns a Lesson (Stage School) by Holly Skeet

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Dave Martin
Reviewed by Dave Martin
Summary: Holly Skeet has delivered a book that little girls will love despite their parents misgivings about stereotypes. A story of dancing and life lessons.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: February 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747587194

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Chloe was the main attraction at her old school. Universally adored and revered at her old school, she assumed that acting the fool would go down equally well at her new school The Marcia Lane School of Drama and Dance. How will she react when she finds this is far from the case?

Stage School: Chloe Learns a Lesson by Holly Skeet delivers exactly what you would expect from a book that is obviously aimed that the girly-girl end of the pre-teen market. This is escapist story telling which does not tax the brain in any way. Things are fab and the teen girl fondness for extravagant punctuation and italics is happily indulged. Pages are littered with glitzy illustrations of microphones, hearts and lipstick and the writing style is easy, relaxed and conversational. As the father of a young teenage girl, I confess to a seething dislike of stereotypes of glitzy, bitchy girls jealously obsessed by boys. I also do not like the idea of needing to fit in to get on. I truly have no love for books like Holly Goes To Stage School.

However, what do I know? My daughter loves it! I can try to explain all my objections to her, but she simply does not care. She has grown up with Lizzie Mc Guire and The Princess Diaries and, as a dancer, she says she understands Chloe's situation and can see herself in the story at the stage school. She likes the bright colours and vivid illustrations and says it was easy to read and she enjoyed it all. She says that the girls she knows are bitchy and that they do talk about boys a lot and as such this book represents real life quite well.

This leads me to thinking perhaps I am being to harsh on Holly Skeet. I won't ever change my mind about gender stereotypes being reinforced in books like this, but at the end of the day it is rare for my daughter to read anything from start to finish in such a short space of time. She thinks that this a book that would be suitable for 8-13 year olds and at 13, though she felt she was at the limit of the upper age range of readers, she has already asked me about getting the other books in the series. Therefore, regardless of my reservations, I would recommend Holly Goes To Stage School to anyone who has a daughter who likes dancing or who is a reluctant reader. Perhaps it's real life I need to think about changing, not the books that reflect it!

More glitter and glitz for teenage girls can be found in Lisa Clark's Think Pink.

Buy Chloe Learns a Lesson (Stage School) by Holly Skeet at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Chloe Learns a Lesson (Stage School) by Holly Skeet at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Chloe Learns a Lesson (Stage School) by Holly Skeet at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Chloe Learns a Lesson (Stage School) by Holly Skeet at Amazon.com.


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Zoë said:

I'm a daughter...and I like dancing so maybe I should read this. Seriously, I used to love anything to do with dancing, and would also recommend the titles by Mal Lewis Jones who wrote the Ballet School and Dance Club series. There seems to be a proliferation of books in this vein out now but somehow the style and sometimes lack of plot don't really matter when the topic is something you're so interested in.