Monday, May 18, 2020

MG Fiction review of Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
38649817Format:  E-book
Genre:  MG Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 304
Publishing:  November 6th, 2018 (
 originally published in 1936)  
Source:  Library 

Opening line:  "The Fossil sisters lived in the Crowell road."   

Description from Goodreads:  "Pauline, Petrova, and Posy love their quiet life together. They are orphans who have been raised as sisters, and when their new family needs money, the girls want to help. They decide to join the Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training to earn their keep. Each girl works hard following her dream. Pauline is destined for the movies. Posy is a born dancer. And Petrova? She finds she'd rather be a pilot than perform a pirouette."  

The third location I'm traveling to on the Believathon II:  Journey to the Stronghold readathon is The Deepwoods, which was inspired by the Edge Chronicles series, specifically Beyond the Deepwoods (1998) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.  The reading prompt for this stop was to read a book published before the year 2000.   I've selected Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, which was originally published in 1936.  It's a book that has been on my TBR list ever since I heard about it in the movie You've Got Mail.  

Pauline, Petrova, and Posy were all adopted by Professor Brown, who they've lovingly come to call G.U.M short for Great Uncle Matthew.  GUM is an avid explorer who combs the world collecting Fossils.  It isn't uncommon for him to disappear for months on end, so Sylvia and Nana tend to the girls in his absence.  However, soon after Posy's arrival GUM left on yet another trip, this time leaving them with enough money to cover their expenses for the next five years.  It isn't long before the money began to dwindle and Sylvia needed to take in boarders.  The girls vow to do their part in helping raise money to help out.  

Ballet Shoes was a fun read and I'm glad that I finally got to read it.  I love how Pauline, Petrova, and Posy became "accidental sisters," brought together because of the Professor collecting them and bringing them home.  He seemed to care about the girls in his own way, but it was odd that he never checked to see how they were doing.  Sylvia and Nana were great caretakers though.  Letting the girls pick out their own last name and Sylvia becoming their Garnie or guardian in his absence.  Seriously, how would he know that five years would be enough to cover their expenses?  I did have my beef with him.  

The girls were just lovely, talented, and unique.  Pauline being the eldest had the most responsibilities, and was the first to work as a professional.  She's strong-minded and determined.  I liked her spunk and how she didn't back down from a challenge.  Sylvia had always encouraged the girls to take a part of their wages and put that money into the bank.  Some went to pay expenses for their dance lessons and the other toward the house, but the rest was meant to be for their future.  However, Pauline would have none of it, she had a plan for what she wanted to do with her money and was determined that Sylvia would let her do what she wanted.  Pauline could be really sweet, but she could also be very bossy.  I can't tell you the number of times that I too would ask my sister if her legs were broken after she asked me to go and grab something for her.     

Petrova was probably my favorite of the three girls.  Although she really didn't care for performing and would've been much happier working on cars or flying planes,  she still did her part in helping to earn money.  Being the middle, I felt for Petrova.   Pauline was always the one who got new clothes and Petrova and Posy had to settle for the hand me downs.  Patches and hand me downs, were something that I was really familiar with while growing up.  Yeah, I think that's what I liked most about Ballet Shoes, the sisters.  I wouldn't have been into the parts about the girls performing on stage, practicing lines, or the ballet positions.  But I would've identified with the homey feel of the book and all the interactions between the girls.  Running around playing hide-and-seek and pooling your money to buy a present.  All the things that make it a comfy sister's story. 


  1. I have a copy of this (bought around the time the movie came out, I think) and it checks out maybe once a year. I should remember to get it out for our Decades Project next year.

  2. I think I read this one growing up. It sounds familiar and so does the title. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. The homey feel sounds like something I would like too- as I am not into ballet, but like stories about friendship. :)

    1. It defiantly made me curious about the other titles, Movie Shoes, Circus Shoes and Party Shoes :)

  3. Movie Shoes was originally The Painted Garden in the UK, and slightly changed. It's very good, and the main character is actually not remarkably talented! Posy and Pauline have minor parts, and it's nice to see them again! Curtains Up (Theater Shoes in the US) is a favorite of mine, set in London at the end of WW II, with the same ballet school. Party Shoes is not great, and Circus Shoes is a bit odd.....I could go on and on!