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Ballet Shoes

(Shoes #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  32,447 ratings  ·  1,341 reviews
An alternate cover edition for this ISBN from 1993 can be found here

Pauline, Petrova and Posy are orphans determined to help out their family by attending 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 w
Paperback, 233 pages
Published September 2003 by Yearling (first published 1936)
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Janet Male I adored it at a similar age. It was one of my favourite childhood books.
Conor Nally It takes place on Cromwell Road, which I think that they say in the book is in London.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,447 ratings  ·  1,341 reviews

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Carre Gardner
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Kressel Housman
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls who love dancing
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. Becaus
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, childrens
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.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Professor Mathew Brown or Great Uncle Mathew or Gum, lives with his niece Sylvia and her nurse Nana, and from time to time takes off on expeditions from where he brings back fossils, adding to a huge collection which has to be thinned down from time to time. One day he decides to travel by sea rather than land, and from three of these voyages brings back three little babies, either orphaned or whose parents are unable to take care of them, and these three little girls are Pauline, Petrova, and P ...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
Mary Durrant
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful reread of a childhood favourite.
Just perfect!
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I first came across this author when Noel Streatfeild was mentioned in one of my all-time favourite movies, You've Got Mail. It prompted me to get at least two books (this one and the one I read last year). Then, I discovered that I had actually already known this story as I had seen a movie adaptation with a young Emma Watson some years ago. Now, I'm correcting the error of not having read the source material yet.

The story is that of three young girls, a few years apart, who have been taken in
Reading this just made me happy. Ridiculous, but true.

It's really a lovely book, with strong, sensible characters.
Tatevik Najaryan
When I was in my first grade, a teacher took our class to the children's library next to school to be registered. I couldn't believe so many books could exist in just one place. After 2-3 years it turned out that this was not enough, so I got my card in the adults' library next to mine and, unfortunately, my old librarian got offended.

This teacher discovered a totally new world to me. I would be before the doors at 8 am waiting for it to open at 9 or wait for about 2 hours and find out it was Su
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
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.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Orphan Stories, Career Novels and/or Family Stories
Originally published in 1936, this first "Shoes" book by acclaimed British children's author Noel Streafeild - the "Shoes" books are less of a series than a collection of wonderful children's novels, some related, some not, many of which were not "shoes" books at all, in their original British forms ( Theater Shoes was originally Curtain Up , Dancing Shoes was Wintle's Wonders, Skating Shoes was White Boots , and so on) - is one that I have long been wanting to read. Thankfully, ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because it was my partner’s favourite book as a child, and I can see why.

It’s a very sweet tale. Not enough drama, tension and danger for my past and younger self, but a sweet and uplifting book, that I think many children would still appreciate these days.

Definitely a book for younger readers and an uplifting one at that.
Erica Henry
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) in You've Got Mail made me read it. 🤣
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I heartily recommend this for little girls of reading age, especially those who like dance. There are numerous other books...Theater Shoes, Dancing shoes, Skating shoes, and more. Read Ballet before Theater. Enjoy with your girls.....This is the books that Meg Ryan mentions in the movie "You've Got Mail"
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aww man. I always feel like crying when I finish this book.

Full review to come.
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Every child should have the joy of reading this book. I am so sad that most of her books are out of print and very difficult to find. I'm very glad that this one and a couple others are available. This book is charming and wholesome and funny and full of good lessons for young children. I would buy every single Streatfeild Book that came into print. And I would buy multiple copies so that my children could have their own sets.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
3.5 stars. Such a delight! I enjoyed seeing how this simple tale of three adopted sisters would unfold.
Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
I needed to listen to something quick and chose this mostly because there’s a character named Sylvia in it. It was pleasant with likable characters and a lovely little family. There were some fat phobic parts I could have lived without. And it’s so strange to read about little kids having to work to keep the family afloat! But the time period makes sense of that and it feels pretty relatable to read about a family struggling financially throughout the novel. Heck, I might even pick up the sequel ...more
I found this story quite dull. Not much is happening expect they go to different classes and get more and more successful in their way. That the children could start earning money with 12 years then is crazy. I don't know if I would have liked it more in book form (and unabridged) - now I realise I've seen the adaption with Emma Watson many years ago - checking imdb... 6/10 - well probably the story can't hold my attention in whatever form.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 🤩
Posy, Pauline, Petrova, Nana and all the rest of the household are very attaching characters!
This was a lovely reading, funny and with a great message.

"We three Fossils,’ she said in a church voice, ‘vow to try and put our names in history books because it’s our very own and nobody can say it’s because of our grandfathers."
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
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
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
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. When I bought a second hand Portuguese version I didn't know it was the one mentioned in the iconic scene in "you've got mail".. It's such a lovely coulerful story. Wich I liked most was the fact that a group of completely strangers bounded to take care of the education of three little orphan girls. It was a very modern and real family. Also I don't understand why some people find it strange for children to work at the stage to help the family. Come on... They had so much heal ...more
Cora Tea Party Princess
Perfect for Christmas, not convinced by the narrator.
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
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
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,
Such a sweet, cozy book! If you didn't have a chance to love this book in your childhood, be sure to check it out now. Especially if you ever dreamed of becoming a ballerina!
Rosanna Threakall
Why did I wait so long to read this? I love this
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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

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
  • New Shoes (Shoes, #10)
  • Traveling Shoes (Shoes, #11)

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