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

Dancing Shoes

(Shoes #9)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  4,932 ratings  ·  198 reviews
Wintle's Little Wonders
When Cora Wintle goes to pick up her orphaned niece, Rachel, she discovers that Rachel's adopted sister, Hilary, would be perfect for her dancing troupe. The only problem is that Hilary might be as good as her own precious daughter, Dulcie. Still, she's determined to take sulky Rachel and sprightly Hilary and make them into Little Wonders.
But Rache
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1995 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 1st 1956)
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 Dancing Shoes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dancing Shoes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,932 ratings  ·  198 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Formative for me. Streatfeild's unconventional families undoubtedly influenced my ideas of what can and should be "family", and her portrayal of the business of art gave me a more realistic idea of artistry from the outset. Dancing Shoes is my favorite of the Shoes series. I'm still not sure how it captivated me for so many reads as a kid, but it held up to my rediscovery. As an adult, I identified even more with Rachel in her desire to make things conform to what she believes as right, and her ...more
Eustacia Tan
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have long heard about the book Ballet Shoes. Apparently they're a childhood classic, and Dancing Shoes is in the same series as them. What I didn't know was that one of my childhood favourites - The Painted Garden, was also by this author! Thankfully, I liked Dancing Shoes, so I wasn't disappointed :D

Dancing Shoes follows Rachel and Hilary. Hilary is Rachel's adopted sister, and because of something that Rachel's mother said, Rachel is convinced that Hilary is cut out to be a dancer. However,
Sophie Janet
I like this book even better than Ballet Shoes....
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite so far of the "Shoes" series. Elizabeth Sastre is a delight as the narrator and I never grew tired of hearing "Wintle's Little Wonders." Three girls are highlighted in this installment: Dulcie, Hilary and Rachel. Dulcie is incorrigible. Will nothing take her down off her high horse (a favorite phrase of my mother's)? Hilary is destined for the Royal Ballet School. Or is she? She is happy to dance as part of a troupe. Finally, Rachel is devastated by the loss of both her paren ...more
Kristen Boers
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I've recently been revisiting all the 'Shoe Books' and man, did I forget how charming "Dancing Shoes" is. Rachel and Hilary are orphans sent to live with an aunt who runs a dancing school and typical Streatfeild stage shenanigans ensue.

Rachel, an anxious introvert, seems to follow the mold of the "the one who can't get on board" commonly seen in Streatfeild's work, but she's given extra dimensions and motivation. There's great care taken to show Rachel as she appears to the people who don't unde
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I did like this book, I didn't like it quite as much as I did Ballet Shoes. This probably is because it was about as enjoyable to read the parts containing Mrs. W and her daughter Dulcie as it was to read the parts with Umbridge in the Harry Potter books. Then again, the fact that the relationship between Rachel and Hilary is more complex than the one among the sisters in Ballet Shoes is a positive thing.

The ending was unexpected, although I feel like it shouldn't have been. Had I be
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I do enjoy Streatfeild's Shoe books quite a bit - the formula is appealing in that there is usually a snooty character who learns a lesson and another who discovers an unknown talent and surprises everyone. In Dancing Shoes two sisters, having lost both of their parents, must go live with a previously unknown uncle. This uncle is married to a dancing teacher - who is quite difficult to live with -- and they have a spoiled & conceited dancing daughter. The girls must learn to dance. Hilary ha ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I read this book as an adult, but I have to say I find strong similarties among all of Noel Streatfeild's "dancing" stories. Always the parents disappear due to death or whatever, leaving the children in someone else's care. There's always a responsible sibling who hates dancing herself, but passionately wants her sister to be a ballerina. Always the remarks about "only till I'm fifteen, then I can do something different." And there's always someone who gets attention on stage and lets it go to ...more
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
In the movie "You've Got Mail" there is a reference made to the Shoe books by Noel Streatfeild. I happen to see this one while perusing shelves at the library and picked it up curious.

The writing was charming and I can see why it is a children's classic. I probably would of loved it as a girl. I enjoyed it as an adult but I think because of the movie I had expectations that were a little too high for it.

Also one of the girls in the story is adopted and at first I was uncomfortable about many c
i loved these books as a little girl and this one stood the test of time yesterday. nuanced complex characters - talent doesn't equal ambition, beauty doesn't equal kindness, loyalty is earned, characters are flawed but lovable. plus they are realistically 10 and they realistically age. they have complex thoughts and feelings and are eager to express themselves but frequently do so poorly.

without plot details, these are great reads for girls who are looking for role models that love performance
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
If you like dance, kids, people drama, the vintage historical period, British atmosphere, or anything to do with what ordinary people are really like, read this book.
It's awesome. :)
Personally, I like it a tiny bit better than Ballet Shoes. Dulcie is a remarkably realistic mean girl--most authors wimp out on letting us see what a mean girl is really like, for fear of offending the mean girls who might happen to be reading ;) -- and the Cinderella element of Rachel's plot is so well handled it do
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I heard of these books guessed it, "You've got mail." I was browsing in the library several weeks ago and happened to see these books. I really liked the story and enjoyed reading them. They are a nice easy read.
Nov 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best of the 3 "Shoes" books that I've read. Ballet Shoes and Theater Shoes both divided the reader's attention among three protagonists. By focusing on just one main character (Rachel), Dancing Shoes allowed me to really get to know her and become attached.
Beth re-read it so I had to. (Also, wow, has it really been five years since I last read this? That seems wrong.)

Looooove this one. Maybe my favorite Streatfeild. RACHEL. Much more like I was than most child characters.

And SUCH a satisfying ending.
I started this book, one of my all time favorite Streatfeilds, standing in a public library in Bermuda in November 1971, and it was years before I found a copy in the US but it was just as good as I had remembered it.
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book as a young girl (elementary age 3-5). If you love dance you'll love this book. It was one of my most favorite books when I was young.
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I think this is my favorite of the "Shoes" books.
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
Didn't like it as much as Ballet shoes.
Ashika David
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite of the shoe books and has withstood multiple re-readings as an adult. It's the same stock characters: the spoiled child whose pride comes before a fall, the nurse, the governess, the terrifying stage mom, the useless-but-kind father figure, the secretly talented protagonist - but I liked all these versions of the characters better than in other books and found them to be more three-dimensional (except the villains). I especially liked how Hilary, Mrs. Storm, Pursey and even R ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is written for pre-teen girls. It presents a story about two girls brought together to be sisters (Hilary, whose parents had both been killed, was adopted in to Rachel Lennox's family before Rachel lost her father in an airplane crash. Later, Rachel's mother dies.) The one girl has a lot of talent for ballet dancing (Hilary), but isn't so keen to work towards a ballet career. Rachel seems to have very little talent, but is trying to keep Hilary going in the direction she feels her mothe ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn't realize how important this book was to me as a child until I re-read it decades later...and I chuckle to see that the reason why I have named so many things Rachel, Hilary and Dulcie was because of this wonderful gem of a story. The examples of young girls finding it quite okay to be independent and self-supporting also buoyed my own determination.

Really wonderful story, rich characters, very realistic emotions, nice mix of supportive and unsupportive adults, terrific setting--can't sa
Danielle Routh
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Took a quick break from my nonfiction to reread an old favorite. I think this is my favorite Shoes book because I identify so strongly with Rachel; plus, the characterization in this one is absolutely fantastic. Every main player in the story is wonderfully round and at least somewhat sympathetic--yes, even Cora and Dulcie. I also love the relationship between Rachel and her Uncle Tom--as I mentioned in my review of Ballet Shoes, Streatfeild does a good job of including positive male role models ...more
Sara Jones
I enjoyed the book, mostly because it's mentioned in the movie You've Got Mail. Ha! The plot is good, the ending was a little surprising, but I didn't love it like I thought I would. Maybe because not all the characters are in harmony at the end. :) But Uncle Tom is adorable, Hilary and Rachel are great sisters, and the coming of age is a bittersweet thing as the girls learn what it means to follow their dreams and not what the other sister thinks they should do.
Tamara Zann
It's a quick read which I might have enjoyed more had I read it as a child. But as C.S. Lewis said, if a book is not good when re-reading it as an adult, it's not good while you're a child, you're taste just isn't refined enough to notice.
There were a couple of things I wanted to edit and a few times I found the style of writing was interfering with the narration.
It is, however, a sweet book and the themes of sisterhood and ambition, or lack thereof, are well presented.
Kate H
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have always loved Noel Streatfeild's books and as a child I got my library to ILL them for me or hunted through second hand book stores to find all of them. She tells the perfect "girls stories". I was always able to find one character in each book that was my favorite. They definitely stand up to re-reads.
Wendy Ledger
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite series as a child, and, many years later, I still find them delightful. These books tell the stories of orphan girls who discover their gifts in the world, often in theatre and dance. They have different ambitions, and all of that is fine. What matters is what they want to do. They are wonderful reads.
Footwear Boss
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The anxieties and strangeness of Cold War Australia make Ursula Dubosarsky's The Red Shoe (ages 11+) a considerably more intense, suspenseful kind of period piece, one that lives on in the mind long after it's finished...In lucid, poetic prose Dubosarsky explores the deep feeling and acute but partial .
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The "Shoes" books are nostalgic for me because I read them as a child and liked them then. Now, reading this as an adult, it is less enjoyable, but that's okay. It's interesting how the author grew up in a family of six children but often writes about orphans. Maybe that has to do with her writing and stage production career being interrupted by WW1.

Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this with my 10-year-old daughter. It is an interesting and poignant story, and has more depth to it than I would have guessed. This is the third book of this shoes series that she has read, and she has enjoyed them all!
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-irl, for-kids
I’m certainly glad views of adoption have changed about what constitutes a “real” daughter or sister.

Otherwise, this was an enjoyable little story. I look forward to catching up on other titles by this author. Somehow I didn’t read them in childhood.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Drina Dances Again
  • A Very Young Dancer
  • Betsy and Joe (Betsy-Tacy, #8)
  • The Melting Season
  • The Four-Story Mistake (The Melendy Family, #2)
  • All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown
  • A Dream of Sadler's Wells
  • Katie John
  • Mennyms Alone (Mennyms, #4)
See similar books…
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)
  • Ballet Shoes
  • 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)
  • New Shoes (Shoes, #10)
  • Traveling Shoes (Shoes, #11)
“Here is something I want you to remember: when a dreadful thing happens to a person as it has happened to you, there are 2 ways to take it. You can let it make you cross and bitter or you can accept it, and because you know what it is like to be hurt very badly, let it make you a nicer person.” 1 likes
More quotes…