Ballet Shoes (Shoes, #1)
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Ballet Shoes (Shoes #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  19,100 ratings  ·  696 reviews
Pauline, Petrova and Posy are orphans determined to help out their new family by joining the Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training. But when they vow to make a name for themselves, they have no idea it's going to be such hard work! They launch themselves into the world of show business, complete with working papers, the glare of the spotlight, and practice, prac...more
Paperback, 233 pages
Published September 2003 by Yearling (first published 1936)
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Kristen Boers
Apr 01, 2008 Kristen Boers rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: girls who love the theatre, and the parents of girls who love the theatre.
My mother doesn't like to read. She's just not that into it, never has been. I, on the other hand, read every day and have, ever since the age of 6. Imagine my surprise, as a 10 year old, when she gave me a copy of "Ballet Shoes" and told me it was her favorite book as a child. During this time, I was obsessed with C.S. Lewis and reading "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" for what felt like the 40th time. But, still, my mother had given me a book, so, the least I could do was read it, right?
Kressel Housman
The story of Pauline, Petrova, and Posy will be in my heart for life, even though I must confess that was introduced to these charming and unforgettable characters from the 1975 British television version. That kind of ruined me for the book; all I'd do was nosh through my favorite scenes. Only when I was in my 20's did I read it cover to cover when I introduced its pleasures to a girl I was tutoring.

Pauline, Petrova, and Posy are three adopted girls being raised in London in the 1930's. Because...more
I had two career goals as a little girl--I would be a ballerina...or a librarian, heh.
Well I started ballet at three and continued through college, but alas never made it to the big stage. I am a librarian though so go figure.
I loved these books so much as a child. All of her series that I read I should say, but especially ballet shoes. This is a fascinating vanished world.
Carre Gardner
Remember the scene in "You've Got Mail" where Colleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is sitting in the children's section of the newly-opened Foxx Books, and a customer comes in looking for the "Shoes" books by Noel Streatfield? The clerk has clearly never heard of them, but Colleen has, and she tells the customer that "The Ballet Shoes" is definitely the one she should start with...

This is that book.

In the twenty-first century, a particularly cynical reader might accuse the book of containing certain tropes...more
Briar Rose
Ballet Shoes is one of those books I wish I'd been able to read as a child. I would have loved to experience the lives of the Fossil girls through a child's eyes, and to have grown up with them.

Noel Streatfeild's beautiful book bewitched me with its simplicity, charm and humour. I was drawn in by the lives of Pauline, Petrova and Posy, empathising with their struggles as they grew up; laughing and crying with them over their successes and failures. Like the best children's stories, even though i...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Well this was different. Not at all what I expected. I thought there'd be more about catty girls & rivalries & stage mothers, but there was none of that.

Is it historical fiction? Was there a time when good girls could actually go on the stage and earn money and still be considered respectable? How wonderful for the interested children!

In fact, how wonderful for all the women in the book. I mean, Sylvia never knew a man's love, but she retained her independence and still had a chance to...more
I'm fond of all Noel Streatfeild's books, but this one, being the first I read, has a special place in my heart. It introduces Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil, orphans who are adopted by an eccentric geologist who then disappears for years, leaving the girls in the care of his niece Sylvia and her old nanny, Nana. When the money he left Sylvia runs out, they decide to send the girls to stage school.

The story and characters are lively and memorable, and Streatfeild describes the girls' trainin...more
Thank you, Kathleen Kelly, for alerting me to the existence of this book. This was really cute and heartwarming.

And I think it's probably time I watch You've Got Mail again.
Adela Cacovean
Originally published in both ENG and RO on my blog:

I must admit that what first got me interested in this book was seeing the movie with Emma Watson as Pauline in 2007. However, six years have passed until I actually decided: I want to read this book. Another important factor in my decision to read it was also the Pre-1960′s Classic Children’s Books Reading Challenge hosted by Turning the Pages I am participating in this year. But how and why I read this b...more
I think Noel Streatfeild is on the way to becoming one of my favorite authors. In addition to Ballet Shoes, which I read earlier this year, I am currently reading her adult novel Saplings and thoroughly enjoying it. I spent a good amount of time browsing ebay and used book sellers in an attempt to track down more of her books since the vast majority of this very prolific author's books are out of print. I am only kicking myself for taking so long to start reading Streatfeild's work.

Ballet Shoes...more
I first read this aged about 6 I think and can still remember the feeling of discovering it for the first time (in reply to comments suggesting it be left for the over-10s: I'd say as with everything, it depends on the child but keen readers will almost certainly want to read it much sooner than that. I kept on re-reading and am still at it; every time I find something new).

I like all Noel Streatfeild's books but this one probably most of all. The grown-up characters in her other books can somet...more
Apr 19, 2013 Darlene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: S. Michele
Recommended to Darlene by: Cheryl in CC NV
"You've Got Mail!" That was the first thing I thought about when I picked up this book and CD from the library. The history of that movie for me, is that my husband and I consider this 'our' movie. We met on an online pen-pal forum. So we had watched it a million time, give or take. We both are obsessed with books, reading and writing them. So when I saw the title of the book: Ballet Shoes (Shoes, #1) by Noel Streatfeild by Noel Streatfield, I realized that the 'shoe books' were real, not just a title made up for the movie. That, also, b...more
This was one of my favorite books as a child. And I'm not the only one! Apparently, when it first came out, the author couldn't get spare copies because the store she went to had a. put the books in their own special section and b. was restricting purchases to one per customer.

That's just remarkable.

The characters are - although a little overly nice (it isn't until later books (Dancing Shoes, Theater Shoes) that we start seeing a few spoiled rotten children) - mostly realistic. They do argue, th...more
To be honest, even though I spent my childhood and young adulthood with reading children’s classics, I had never heard of Noel Streatfield until I saw the movie You’ve Got Mail (1998), by which time I had attained full age already. Nevertheless, Meg Ryan’s enthusing about Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes made me want to read it, but somehow life prevented me from reading it. Several years later, a good friend of mine presented me with this book, but I still wasn’t able to read it, because I was writin...more
I think it was the first (what I thought to be) grown-up book I owned at the age of seven. Watching You've Got Mail for the twentieth time had me looking in my garage for my copy of this timeless classic but alas, I was disappointed. I had to resort to my tattered copy of Party Shoes for my dose of Noel Streatfield. Nostalgically, I recounted the enchanting story of the book I fell in love with and reminisced about the innocence and gaiety I was subject to at that time. Amidst the taxing hours a...more
A long-running favourite of my youth, I was inspired to re-read this when I saw the 2007 BBC version of this I decided to hunt up my copy to re-read. This is the story of three sisters, collected by a fossil hunter (GUM or Great Uncle Matthew) and left with his niece Sylvia (aka Garnie for Guardian) and her Nanny and assorted servants. The three grow up, finding themselves very poor. They take in paying guests to make ends meet and these people help the three girls with their education. One of t...more
Uncle Gum is an eccentric fossil collector. He takes long trips around the world and bring back little orphan baby girls. Soon he disappears and his niece, Sylvia, and her old nanny, Nana, have to raise the girls on the a limited income. To earn a little money, Sylvia invites boarders to live in their home. One boarder hooks the girls up with the theater and dance school she teaches at. Turns out the oldest, Pauline, is a natural actress; the second oldest Petrova, while not particularly skilled...more
I think this is the best of the shoes books. The Fossil sisters are absolutely charming and there's lots of good behind-the-scenes theater stuff. The plot is lively and engrossing, and the Fossils' desire to support themselves and make a name for their family is admirable. Lots of characters to root for. I also love Petrova, the mechanically-obsessed sister, who reads books about engines while understudying. When she asks her mentor if girls can be chauffeurs, he answers, "Lots are." Many of Str...more
Somewhat unfairly, I link these books with Enid Blyton's in my head - because they're both British, and because I read them during the same time span growing up - and so sometimes I forget that Noel Streatfield actually tells a good story well.

In a way reminiscent of L'Engle, she always writes about talented people (one notable exception would be Movie Shoes, and yet even that untalented person has her moment) but she writes about hard work and disappointment and poverty, too, and she writes abo...more
I must have read this book 10 times growing up. Please note that you don't have to like ballet one bit to like it! I had no interest at all in ballet or any dance, but I loved it, because it's full of the kind of details that satisfy. All of Noel Streatfeild's books are. She deals with issues like how to pay for classes, how to find the right clothes, how to deal with snobby people, the realities that some girls have talent and some don't, but everyone has a place someplace, etc. And she underst...more
Nicola Perryman
As a young dancer and book enthusiast this was always one of my favourites. Three orphan girls are collected by a Fossil hunter and delivered to his Great Niece in London where they are tutored by Lodgers in the house and start stage school. The stage soon becomes both a blessing and a curse for the girls as they learn the craft and how to make money for the family. I remember particular envy of the girl chosen to play Alice in a performance of Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoyed the emotional...more
Apr 18, 2009 Melody rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melody by: Susann
I'm sorry, Susann, but this will be my only Shoes book.

I found it sweet but unsatisfying. I just couldn't care about anyone but Petrova, and even she was a little marshmallow-y. There was never any real doubt about how it would end, or if the latest character would be interested in helping the girls or even if one or another would get any given part. All the self-sacrificing was... again, the only word I keep coming up with for this book is sweet. Sweet like white sugar, sweet like cotton candy,...more
3 1/2 stars. I am sure that I would have adored this book if I had read it as a child. The story is charming but doesn't have that magic that I find in Frances Hodgson Burnett's books. Perhaps it is that as an adult reading this for the first time, the implausibilities are too obvious and frequent.

Elizabeth Sastre's narration was enjoyable and I will be happy to listen to her narrating other books in the future.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
It's not great fiction. It's not classic children's fiction. But it wasn't meant to be, not even at the time. It's meant to be fantasy wish fulfillment for little girls, who like the three Fossil sisters, dream of being in the history books--and not because of their grandfathers.

For any little girl who has dreamed of leaving her family behind and living in a rambling old house full of adults who are not her parents, and enjoy spoiling you just a bit. For any little girl who has dreamed of ditchi...more
Charlotte Stevenson
This was a present for my thirteenth birthday and it was one of the most interesting books I have read using fiction to relate to the performing arts, it was the perfect book to grow up with, showing that with the right touch of hard work, even reality can have an element of magic. Streatfield uses her knowledge of dance to bring Pauline, Petrova and Posy to life along with all the friends they make along the way of growing up in order to achieve their dreams of dancing with the national ballet.
This is the story of three sisters who want to make a name for themselves. Pauline is interested in acting, Petrova is interested in mechanics and Posy is interested in ballet. This story follows them as they try and find their place.

I really enjoyed watching the film and the book didn't disappoint.

I loved it. I finished it in one afternoon and it just felt so cosy, like a bookish hug. The characters were really believable and I just got swept along with their story.
This book is how I learned to imitate the english dialect. We got a two-cassette TB of this (probably not this edition) when my family visited the country in 1990 and I listened to it nonstop for years. My perceptions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, early cinema, and Alice in Wonderland are forever shaped by their depictions in this story. As well as adopted families, dance instruction, and the way to say "citroen cars" in british. My brain is partially wired by this story.
This is a very happy-go-lucky story of three very different sisters (that are not actually sisters) and their first steps in dancing and theatre. I really liked the idea of their house full of nice boarders and the three girls with each their own character. Petrova liking cars and engines was refreshing, too. The inclusion of financtial troubles and the role the children play in solving them is interesting, and I am still not sure how I feel about them earning money - why isn't Sylvia working he...more
One of my two favorite of Streatfield's "Shoes" books. A children's novel from the 1930s about three adopted sisters, poor but talented, who attend a dance and stage school in London. They have a guardian who turns her home into a boarding house to make a living, and most of the other characters live there.
What is it about orphans that appeals so much to kids. Is it that without those pesky parents, kids are able to invent themselves, with no back-story/baggage to weigh them down? In this book, the three orphan "sisters" (they all had different parents) choose a last name for themselves, "Fossil". They vow to do something important with their lives so that the name "Fossil" will appear in history books, and "no one can say it was because of our Grandfathers, because it's OUR name."
Each Fossil has...more
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Mary Noel Streatfeild, known as Noel Streatfeild, is an author, best known and loved for her children's books including Ballet Shoes and Circus Shoes. She was born on Christmas Eve, 1895, the daughter of William Champion Streatfeild and Janet Venn and the second of six children to be born to the couple. Sister Ruth was the oldest, after Noel came Barbara, William ('Bill'), Joyce (who died of TB pr...more
More about Noel Streatfeild...
Dancing Shoes (Shoes, #9) Theater Shoes (Shoes, #4) Skating Shoes (Shoes, #7) Movie Shoes (Shoes, #6) Thursday's Child

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