Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ballet Shoes (Shoes, #1)” as Want to Read:
Ballet Shoes (Shoes, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ballet Shoes

(Shoes #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  30,331 ratings  ·  1,171 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 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
Paperback, 233 pages
Published September 2003 by Yearling (first published 1936)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ballet Shoes, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Conor Nally It takes place on Cromwell Road, which I think that they say in the book is in London.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  30,331 ratings  ·  1,171 reviews

Sort order
Kristen Boers
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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?
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. Because
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.
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
Reading this just made me happy. Ridiculous, but true.

It's really a lovely book, with strong, sensible characters.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Adela Cacovean
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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,
Rosanna Threakall
Why did I wait so long to read this? I love this
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Noel Streatfeild was one of the twentieth century's most beloved British children's authors, and it's not hard to see why. Ballet Shoes is quintessential English storytelling charm, every becoming trait of the era neatly fit within its pages. It's not a vehicle for any overarching message other than the sweet thrill of life in all its ups and downs, the reward of persevering through lean times to enjoy the good. The characters are winsome and very real, none equipped with super-traits to shield ...more
Sophie Janet
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it

Do you remember in that movie called "You've Got Mail" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan where Meg is sitting in Fox Books and is sort of watching everything around her both sadly and contemplatively, because she lost her haven of a bookstore, but she loves seeing others who love books--even if it's at the corporation that she dislikes? Do you remember?

And do you remember when some lady walks up behind Meg and starts talking to the store helper and asks if they've got a book that her daughter (or
L.H. Johnson
This book and I, we've known each other for a long long time. It is one of those books that has been in my life for forever, really, I can't quite remember a time without it. Without Noel Streatfeild, without the Fossils and without Cromwell Road and Madame Fidolia. It is something I cannot quite conceive of, the unknowing of these things.

Ballet Shoes is beautiful, iconic in its way, a story of stage and screen and of destiny. It is a story about impact, about the value of that impact, and about
So funny that I just turned on the TV to see 'You've Got Mail' playing. Meg Ryan's character has a touching moment about Noel Streatfeild and 'The Shoe Books' in the film -- and I get her in that moment. :)

'The Shoe Books' were huge favourites of mine as a child (and, yes - I took ballet, so Ballet Shoes was my favourite). I haven't read this book in years and years (and years). At the moment, I am in a bit of a... I don't even know what - reading slump, I guess. So I thought I would revisit thi
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 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.
Rebecca McNutt
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This entertaining and creative children's book combines themes of dancing, friendship and growing up, accompanied by interesting characters. I'm not sure I liked the choppy sentences, though.
Beth Bonini
It’s a complete mystery to me why I’ve read this classic children’s book, but I suppose better “late” than never.

Like Louisa May Alcott before her (in the immortal Little Women), Streatfeild brings together several different heroines for the reader to identify with. There is Pauline, blonde and blue-eyed, who wants to be an actress. Then Petrova, who has straight dark hair and narrow eyes, and is good at all sorts of mechanical things. Posy, the youngest, has a cloud of fluffy red hair; she arr
Should probably have read this 35 years ago!

I read it because someone mentioned that a character in my current work-in-progress reminded her of a grown-up Petrova Fossil and I was intrigued. Can I just say here that it is INEVITABLE that Petrova grow up and join the Air Transport Auxiliary--she is already buzzing around in planes at the age of thirteen in 1933 and it is clear that when she hits 20 in 1940, and has had her pilot's license for the past 4 years or so, she will have no other desire
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
You know, Great Uncle Matthew is kind of an asshole. 2 3 Sep 26, 2018 12:24PM  
Afternoon Tea and...: Noel Streatfeild 1 5 Nov 08, 2017 01:58PM  
Cover 7 40 May 04, 2017 05:59PM  
1001 Children's B...: Ballet Shoes 7 75 Jan 30, 2016 08:27AM  
"If other girls had to be one of us, which one would they choose to be?" 29 117 Jun 28, 2015 07:26PM  
movie versions 14 38 Feb 07, 2012 06:42AM  
  • Ballet for Drina (Drina, #1)
  • A Dream of Sadler's Wells (Sadler's Wells, #1)
  • Betsy in Spite of Herself (Betsy-Tacy, #6)
  • Then There Were Five (The Melendy Family, #3)
  • A Very Young Dancer
  • Autumn Term (The Marlows, #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The Swish of the Curtain
  • The Family from One End Street (The Family from One End Street, #1)
  • All-of-a-Kind Family
  • Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons, #8)
  • The School at the Chalet
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 (Shoes, #9)
  • New Shoes (Shoes, #10)
  • Traveling Shoes (Shoes, #11)
“It might have all the same; you never can tell what's magic.” 33 likes
“There is no doubt a new dress is a help under all circumstances.” 24 likes
More quotes…