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Ballet Shoes (1936)

by Noel Streatfeild

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shoes (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,451693,674 (4.17)1 / 170
Determined to make a name for themselves, three adopted sisters living in London train for the ballet and the stage and in the process discover that each has a special talent.
  1. 31
    Gemma by Noel Streatfeild (humouress)
    humouress: Another story about child actors and family.
  2. 10
    Wintle's Wonders by Noel Streatfeild (HollyMS)
  3. 10
    The Whicharts by Noel Streatfeild (nessreader)
    nessreader: Ballet Shoes is the obvious read to complement the Whicharts, as they are the same story retold respectively for children (Ballet S) and adults (the Ws). The Whicharts, with sex, bastards and a downbeat ending, was written first. It's fascinating to compare them. Streatfeild also published adult books as Susan Scarlett; I recommend Murder While You Work, a romance set in a WW2 munitions factory… (more)
  4. 10
    Listen to the Nightingale by Rumer Godden (bookel)
  5. 00
    A Dream of Sadler's Wells by Lorna Hill (SylviaC)
  6. 11
    Gemma and Sisters by Noel Streatfeild (humouress)
    humouress: Another story about child actors and family
  7. 00
    The little gymnast by Sheila Haigh (jordantaylor)
  8. 00
    The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay (shaunie)
    shaunie: McKay's writing style is very similar to Streatfeild's - wonderfully easy to digest!

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» See also 170 mentions

English (68)  German (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
What a lovely audio book! Set in 1930s England, Ballet Shoes is the story of three girls adopted by Great Uncle Matthew, known as GUM for short. They choose the surname Fossil because GUM collects fossils and he collected them. Pauline is destined to become an actress, Posey a ballerina, Petrova an airplane pilot. They grow up in a big house filled with boarders because the family needs the rent money for income. They all learn to act and dance so that they can work in the theater and earn extra money to get by.

So this is a story about surviving hard times (there are lots of scenes where they work out how to afford the things they need) and thriving in a non-traditional family setting (the three adopted girls are raised by a nanny, their guardian Sylvia, called "Garney," and the very kind boarders). I especially loved the brusque but always loving Nanny, who was wonderfully performed by the audio book reader. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
I read this one with my daughter because of the reference in You’ve Got Mail. I wanted to love it more than I did. It’s about three orphans, Pauline, Petrova, and Posy, adopted by a world explorer. As they grow up, they develop an interest in ballet, acting, and flying. None of the girls were particularly endearing, coming across as spoiled or petulant most of the time. I am curious if anyone else has continued the series, does it get better? ( )
  bookworm12 | Sep 12, 2023 |
A very comforting book that describes the coming of age and growing up of three orphaned but adopted girls who each have unique talents. ( )
  c1nnamongirl | Aug 11, 2023 |
Charming. ( )
  k6gst | Jan 19, 2023 |
I read this because of a scene from You've Got Mail. I'd never heard of it otherwise. Since then, I've looked into it and seen lots of praise for the "Shoe Series", but I found this book merely okay. There's glimmers of charm here and there, but it doesn't stick.

The girls' overall attitudes seemed more negative than positive. A couple incidents were good lesson-teaching examples, but I struggled to find them likable. They struck me as somewhat surly children (with exceptions -of course they have sweet moments).

And then there were a slew of random things that bothered me.
-The intro of the book is a summary that explains what parts the girls get, so there's no tension in any of the future auditions. The chapter titles ruin major events in chapters as well.
-Why is there such reverence their great uncle when he leaves for so long and never even writes?
-Their friend Winifred gets a lot of blows, and I was waiting for her to get some sort of reprieve -but naw, she's just the punching bag.
-They don't call the cops when Posy goes missing, and their reasoning is that because by the time the police get there, she may have returned. That's some seriously flawed logic.
-The girls are constantly under such stress about money woes, and often have to provide the solutions. I was very unimpressed with their guardians.
-Lasty, the caretakers constantly mention in one way or another that it's such a shame how Pauline is so pretty, and Petrova's not -from infancy to young teenage years. Reeeally?

Ultimately, even with my "eh" feelings there was still enough to bump my rating to three stars. There are some warm interactions between the three that are written decently. I do not have any compulsion to continue with the series, however. The author hasn't won me over. ( )
  Allyoopsi | Jun 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Streatfeild, Noelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brender, IrmelaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Floethe, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gervis, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goode, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sastre, ElizabethReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Streatfeild, JanetNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Fossil sisters lived in the Cromwell Road. At that end of it which is farthest away from the Brompton Road, and yet sufficiently near it to be taken to look at the dolls' houses in the Victoria and Albert every wet day, and if not too wet, expected to 'save the penny and walk.'
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Wikipedia in English


Determined to make a name for themselves, three adopted sisters living in London train for the ballet and the stage and in the process discover that each has a special talent.

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Book description
Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil are three little orphan girls adopted as babies by the eccentric Matthew Brown, an archaeologist. He then disappears on an expedition, leaving them in the care of his niece Sylvia and a nanny. Sylvia Brown struggles financially and must take in boarders to support them all. So with the support of the entire household, the girls decide to go on the stage to earn fame and fortune.
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Folio Archives 344: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild 2009 in Folio Society Devotees

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Average: (4.17)
1 7
2 15
2.5 5
3 71
3.5 13
4 204
4.5 25
5 216

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141334428, 0141336501


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