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Ballet Shoes: Dramatisation (Shoes #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  22,323 ratings  ·  779 reviews
Three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars!
Published (first published 1936)
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Kristen Boers
Apr 01, 2008 Kristen Boers rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
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
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 C.
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
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Classic, Christmas, talent, family, dance.

This is one of my FAVOURITE books ever. I read it year on year, often more than once, and I never get bored. How could I?

Ballet Shoes follows the Fossil sisters and their journey through life as they try to get their name into the history books because of who they are.

It's a book that always makes me smile, that could cheer me up on the most miserable of days. And it has this kick-ass thread of girl-power throughout, a discreet hint of feminism
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
Apr 19, 2013 Darlene rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Leanne (Booksandbabble)
This was an adorable tale. I have watched the film countless times and decided it was time to read the book. It was just the sort of light, magical story to curl up with on a November evening. Pauline,Petrova, and Posy are three orphan girls who were picked up GUM,or rather Great-uncle-Matthew,on his many travels around the world collecting Fossils. Looked after by Gum's Great Niece, whilst he returns to his travels,the girls live in relative comfort but the money begins to run out. It is only w ...more
The first time I had heard of this book was in the movie "You've Got Mail". When I discovered it was real, I had decided I'd look for it to read. A few years went by and I had forgotten about the book until friends of mine read it and gave it rather good ratings, so I added the book to my wishlist. Recently, I had just finished reading Little By Little in which the author mentions having read the book and how it influenced her. This time, I researched the library's catalog and discovered they ha ...more
I couldn't even tell you how many times I've read this. I don't remember the first time. My copy has lost its cover, is in the process of losing its back and at some point a mysterious brown liquid invaded pages 1-75. As a person who takes very good care of her books, having one in this condition is a testament of how often it was read.

One of my very favorites.
Giant Bolster
This heart-warming story of three baby girls adopted by an eccentric professor and then abandoned to the care of several maternal figures is strongly reminiscent of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Like Alcott’s coming of age novel, this story written and set in the 1930's depression-era London charts the childhood and youth of the girls and describes how, together with their guardians, they try to eke out a genteel lifestyle while tottering at the edge of poverty in the long absence of their f ...more
This is probably the first book ever where I cannot say 'The book is better' straight away. First of all, it is clear that the book is for children and the film is for the grown ups. But the beauty remains in both.

Pauline, Petrova and Posy are sister by 'accident' as they were all adopted by a wealthy and nice uncle Matthew (whom they called Gum, because Great Uncle Matthew. G.U.M.). After he brought the youngest Posy home, though, he disappeared. There was enough money in the bank for a couple
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
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
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
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
Oh, Ballet Shoes. I’ve been meaning to read it for a million years—pretty much since Meg Ryan started gushing on about the silly thing during You’ve Got Mail, in between receiving bouquets of daisies from Tom Hanks and taking in the wonders of the Information Super Highway—and just got around to it now.

It’s classic, terrifying tale of Gum, the ragged old man who kidnaps babies and deposits them in his vast mansion, where they are subsequently driven (penniless) into the workforce to toil away as
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
Kelsey Bryant
A wonderful experience!! It was so informative about life in 1930s London as dancing and acting students, yet written with the forthrightness of a child's perspective and a fun sense of humor. I plan to read more by Noel Streatfeild.
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
Another book I loved when I was younger. I remember reading it five times in a row. It never got boring. I love how the author talks about theatre and cinema, my two favorite things. It's beautiful!
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
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Mary Noel Streatfeild, known as Noel Streatfeild, was 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 p ...more
More about Noel Streatfeild...

Other Books in the Series

Shoes (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Tennis Shoes (Shoes, #2)
  • Circus Shoes (Shoes, #3)
  • Theater Shoes (Shoes, #4)
  • Party Shoes (Shoes, #5)
  • Movie Shoes (Shoes, #6)
  • Skating Shoes (Shoes, #7)
  • Family Shoes (Shoes, #8)
  • Dancing Shoes (Shoes, #9)
  • Traveling Shoes (Shoes, #11)
  • New Shoes (Shoes, #10)
Theater Shoes (Shoes, #4) Dancing Shoes (Shoes, #9) Skating Shoes (Shoes, #7) Movie Shoes (Shoes, #6) Thursday's Child

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“It might have all the same; you never can tell what's magic.” 27 likes
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