A Vicarage Family is the first part in a fictionalized autobiography in which Noel Streatfeild tells the story of her own childhood, painting a poignant and vivid picture of daily life in an impoverished, genteel family in the years leading up to the First World War.
In the story there are three little girls - Isobel, the eldest, is pretty, gentle and artistic; Louise the youngest, is sweet and talented - and then there is Vicky, 'the plain one', the awkward and rebellious child who doesn't fit in at school or at home. Growing up in a big family Vicky feels overlooked but gradually begins to realize that she might not be quite as untalented as she feels.
The Vicky of this story is, of course, the much-loved Noel Streatfeild who went on to write so many wonderful family stories, the most famous being Ballet Shoes.
Every family has its secrets, but it was a huge surprise to the three young Forbeses, fresh from a country vicarage, to discover that their grandmother was a famous actress. Sent to live with her in bombed-out, wartime London, they soon discovered that they were expected to follow in the family footsteps - to the footlights -!
As an actress herself, Noel Streatfeild was familiar with all the details of the backstage world of the theatre. She has created an authentic, perceptive and vivid picture of theatrical life - from stage school to auditions to performances.
Tennis Shoes is one of the wonderful 'Shoes' collection of adventures for children by Noel Streatfeild.
There is no doubt about it - the Heath children have tennis in their blood. Their grandfather and father before them had been top players, and the twins are champion material. Then Nicky - cheeky, rebellious Nicky - starts to practise in secret, but talented at tennis as she is, the ambitious Nicky first has battles to win with herself - on and off the tennis court.
Reissued in 'A Puffin Book' series of Puffin modern classics, this is a sharp and funny story that follows in the footsteps of Ballet Shoes, Theatre Shoes and Circus Shoes by the popular children's author Noel Streatfeild.