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Circus Shoes

(Shoes #3)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  908 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Threatened with life in separate orphanages when their aunt dies, two children run away to search for their uncle who works for a circus and find that they can become a part of the hard work and colorful performances of the tenting season.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 1st 1985 by Yearling (first published 1938)
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3.79  · 
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 ·  908 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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This is one of those "hovering on the edge of ugliness" Streatfeild books, where everyone seems to blame these two kids for things entirely out of their control. It's awful.

And they have to be the ones to be the adults, to forgive and overlook and make their own places. I want to cry when Santa has to run after Ted to get him to, you know, explain what he means instead of stalking off. The world is an unfair place, I guess. And this book does a very good job showcasing that.

PS: This book was pu
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The first of the "Shoe books" I ever read, and the only one I had access to growing up. I read it over and over, which tells you how good it those days there were so many books to read that only a select few were re-reads for me.

Peter and the oddly-named Santa (not a normal English girl's name for the time, but then neither was "Noel"), born a year apart but as close as twins, were orphaned as tiny children and raised by their parsimonious aunt to believe themselves a large cut above eve
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm working my way through this series in order --love to be linear. This installment returns to the theme of orphans. Peter and Santa first lose their parents, then the aunt who was their guardian. Rather than be sent to separate orphanages, they run away to find their Uncle Gus and the circus he is a part of. They are clueless about life with the circus and spend most of the book working through that learning curve. I did love living the circus life vicariously with them, but found all the cir ...more
L.H. Johnson
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Noel Streatfield had a handle on what made "working" children tick. Her sympathetic portrayal of characters who take to the stage, the circus, the ice-rink, is consistently smart and realistic. Circus Shoes is no exception. Peter and his rather splendidly named sister Santa face an uncertain future following certain events and as a result of this, they quite literally run away to the circus. What's more realistic for me and appealing in this story is Peter. Santa's ultimate fate is somewhat inev ...more
Morticia Adams
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was called The Circus is Coming when I read it. I don't get that every book by Noel STreatfeild on Good Reads has been changed to include "shoes" in the title, presumably for the sake of symmetry with the two she wrote called Tennis Shoes and Ballet Shoes - totally dumb and unnecessary!

Anyway, Noel Streatfeild was my Enid Blyton (whom everyone else loved but I hated) when I was young - I loved nearly all her books (I do remember one absolute stinker though)
I read this as a kid, but I think just one time. (There's a book personality test for you! Does "just one time" mean something to you or do you read virtually all books just one time?)

Anyway, I like this as a story of belonging. That's the aspect that stuck with me all the years. (view spoiler)
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 30s, kid-s-books
Love's conditional, kids. You have to earn it.
Rachel Slocombe
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this Shoes book. It took us a while to get through because I kept getting throat infections and not being able to read aloud.
This one follows Peter and Santa, my children found the fact a girl was called Santa hilarious at the start of the book! Their aunt, who's been raising them, dies and they're being sent to separate orphanages so they run away to join the circus where their uncle is a trapeze artiste.
We enjoyed the story of the children, who started out a bit snobbish but
Amber Scaife
An orphaned brother and sister run away from the prospect of being sent to separate orphanages and to their uncle, who works as a clown in a circus. They spend their summer traveling with the circus and hoping that they can win their way into their uncle's good graces and so stay with him once the tenting season is over.
Slow moving in places, but still a comfy little read.
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrensbooks
Stayed up late last night to finish this book. Loved it! I love the different 'voices' of her characters and the way she presented the circus family. As a lover of animals, I'm always a bit leary of books about animals since I'm sure one or more will die, and I'll be devastated. I loved the way the circus people explained to Peter and Santa that the horses, dogs, elephants, sea lions, lions had 'moods' as do humans, and talk to each other even if we can't understand them etc etc etc.

I was kind o
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written novel about some kids who are taught to think of themselves as better and smarter than others but are actually quite ignorant and prideful. Due to their silly aunt's death,they go to live with their uncle in the circus and learn the truth about themselves,and as a result,become better kids than they were plus they learn to work hard at learning a talent so that they can stay with their uncle and the circus,which they like.
Hooray, another new Noel Streatfeild for me! This one I absolutely loved. Such a charming, quick read. Peter isn't always likeable but he's at least interesting, and often mockable. I'm still wondering what Santa could possibly be short for too! The adventure getting to the circus was so much fun to read about, as was seeing the children fitting in - or otherwise. ;)
Nov 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
Okay book. Lots of charming details. Nothing, however, *happens*.
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Probably my favorite of Streatfeild's "Shoes" books that I have read, as it is the least formulaic.
Luisa Knight
Booklovers everywhere have all drooled over the little book shop Kathleen Kelly owned in the delightful movie, You've Got Mail. We've relished the thought of working among such an atmosphere of twinkle lights and children's literature. And what a selection she had too. Whoever was in charge of choosing the books to be highlighted in the movie did a pretty top-notch job! Have you read them all? Notable mentions are The Betsy-Tacy books and The Shoe Series.

"Noel Streatfeild wrote Ballet Shoes and
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Peter and Santa are brought up by their aunt, who was a duchess' lady and therefore has no real understanding of the real world and brings them up to think they're better then everyone. Then their aunt dies and they are to be sent off to orphanages. Fearing to be separated, they run away to an uncle they've never met, who happens to be a part of the circus. There they learn how foolishly their aunt brought them up, and slowly work to be actual people.

Classic tale by Streatfield of children and
This was fun, I can't say that I ever wanted to run off and join the circus but I did enjoy reading about it. Peter and Santa are two orphaned siblings who after the death of their aunt end up faced with living in seperate childrens homes.

But instead they manage to track down their circus going uncle and run off to join him and the circus. Thanks to the strange upbringing they had from their aunt, neither of the children are particularly bright, they ask a lot of obvious questions and have a bit
Mary BG
I did not read this when young and maybe I would have liked it better then. I appreciate Streatfeild's realisms and not romanticizing things, but the undeserved frustrations for these children is never ending and tedious in a story that did not grab me. I've never been much of a circus fan; otherwise, the details of circus operations and logistics may have seemed more interesting. Most of the characters are annoying and I didn't care that much about them. This is the least good of Streatfeild's ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Circus Shoes isn't my favorite of the Shoe books, but it's still an enjoyable read. What I love about Streatfeild is that she was able to gather both the emotions of children and the emotions of adults. There are no villains here, but no heroes either. Just a fun circus book (with a little dash of performance-based acceptance).
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can one say about a true classic? Even after all these years it still brings tears to my eyes. Not one of those namby pamby children's books where no one does anything but play or perhaps go to school. Here children work hard, train, and have careers while growing up. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations as well.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Not my favourite by a long way, and fairly inconceivable that it won the Carnegie the year it came out (1938/39?). It is so far away from the books that win now that it might as well be from a different planet.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
What a weird little book.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a Noel Streatfeild book that I had never read. It was quite good and I eventually got used to the fact that the eleven year old girl was named Santa.
Sophie Crane
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-in-h-f
An engrossing story with very well- developed characters. The circus setting is realistic, with many interesting details, which teach you much about an unusual way of life. One of her best books.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Nowhere near as absorbing or even interesting as her usual books. Perhaps if one is really interested in circus life, those bits would entertain.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Streatfeild's books are often good to inspire kids to be the best that they can be in their chosen field of interest, and to teach them not to settle for mediocrity - if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. It's probably worth 4.5 stars. I found it thoroughly satisfying to read. The ending was possibly just a bit too abrupt. And Streatfeild made a mistake too. She seemed to imply that there was a pebble beach at Margate, where it is actually a sandy beach. But apart from that defect ...more
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first heard of Noel Streatfeild when I checked out the movie version of Ballet Shoes from the library. After watching it, I figured I should read the book. After reading it and its sequel Theater Shoes, I stumbled upon Circus Shoes. This isn't Streatfeild's best book, Ballet and Theater Shoes are by far much better, though does deserve credit.

Peter and Santa (like most of Streatfeild's main characters) are orphans. Their parents died in a railway accident, and they live with their Aunt Rebecc
'The Circus is Coming' (also known as 'Circus Shoes') is the story of Peter and Santa, an orphaned brother and sister who live with their rather strict and snobbish aunt. It's set, I suppose, in the 1930s. When the aunt dies, it looks as though the children may have to be sent to orphanages. So they decide to go and find their uncle Gus, the black sheep of the family. What they hadn't realised is that he's an artiste in a circus.

The book is about Peter and Santa learning to put aside some of the
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been curious about this author since watching "You've Got Mail". Meg Ryan's character mentions the book Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. When I ran across this old copy of Circus Shoes I wanted to see why she would list it as a classic children's novel. As it turns out it was typical of books I read as a child. This is the second older book I have read that reads a little bit like a how to book. Without the ease of the internet readers depended on books to get information unlike a reader ...more
Zen Cho
Jun 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidslit
Oh, Noel Streatfeild, how I love you. I've been wanting to read this ever since I knew of its existence. Yay for reprints! It's not exactly claimed a place with White Boots and Ballet Shoes as a favourite Streatfeild book, but it's one of her better ones. I like the unsentimentality of Gus's character. While it was great watching Peter develop, I was a little disappointed with Santa's character progression; I liked her and felt more could have been done with her. I don't think she really chang ...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

Other books in the series

Shoes (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Ballet Shoes
  • Tennis Shoes (Shoes, #2)
  • 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)