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Ballet Shoes Ballet Shoes is the much loved classic by Noel Streatfield I wonder if other girls had to be one of us, which of us they d choose to be Pauline longs to be an actress Petrova is happiest playing with cars and engines And if she could Posy would dance all day But when their benefactor Great Uncle Matthew disappears, the Fossil girls share a future of a dazzling life on stage, where their dreams and fears will soon come true Noel Streatfeild once said that Ballet Shoes was really a fairy story with its feet half way on the ground a magical description for a magical book Noel was born in Sussex inand was one of three sisters Although she was considered the plain one she ended up leading the most glamorous and exciting life After working in munitions factories and canteens for the armed forces when WWI broke out, Noel followed her dream of being on stage and went to RADA where she became a professional actress She began writing children s books inand Ballet Shoes was published inShe quickly became one of the most popular authors of her day When she visited Puffin exhibitions, there were queues right out of the building and all the way down The Mall She was one of the first winners of the Carnegie Medal and was awarded an OBE inNoel Streatfeild lived in London She died inAlso by Noel Streatfield Ballet Shoes Tennis Shoes The Circus is Coming The House in Cornwall The Children of Primrose Lane CUrtain Up Party Frock The Painted Garden White Boots The Fearless Treasure The Bell Family Wintle s Wonders New Town Apple Bough A Vicarage Family The First Book of the Ballet The Children on the Top Floor Away from the Vicarage The Growing Summer Caldicott Place Thursday s Child Beyond the Vicarage Ballet Shoes for Anna When the Siren Wailed Far To Go


About the Author: Noel Streatfeild

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 prior to her second birthday and Richenda Ruth and Noel attended Hastings and St Leonard s Ladies College in 1910 As an adult, she began theater work, and spent approximately 10 years in the theater During the Great War, in 1915 Noel worked first as a volunteer in a soldier s hospital kitchen near Eastbourne Vicarage and later produced two plays with her sister Ruth When things took a turn for the worse on the Front in 1916 she moved to London and obtained a job making munitions in Woolwich Arsenal At the end of the war in January 1919, Noel enrolled at the Academy of Dramatic Art later Royal Academy in London In 1930, she began writing her first adult novel, The Whicharts, published in 1931 In June 1932, she was elected to membership of PEN Early in 1936, Mabel Carey, children s editor of J M Dent and Sons, asks Noel to write a children s story about the theatre, which led to Noel completing Ballet Shoes in mid 1936 In 28 September 1936, when Ballet Shoes was published, it became an immediate best seller.According to Angela Bull, Ballet Shoes was a reworked version of The Whicharts Elder sister Ruth Gervis illustrated the book, which was published on the 28th September, 1936 At the time, the plot and general attitude of the book was highly original, and destined to provide an outline for countless other ballet books down the years until this day The first known book to be set at a stage school, the first ballet story to be set in London, the first to feature upper middle class society, the first to show the limits of amateurism and possibly the first to show children as self reliant, able to survive without running to grownups when things went wrong.In 1937, Noel traveled with Bertram Mills Circus to research The Circus is Coming also known as Circus Shoes She won the Carnegie gold medal in February 1939 for this book In 1940, World War II began, and Noel began war related work from 1940 1945 During this time, she wrote four adult novels, five children s books, nine romances, and innumerable articles and short stories On May 10th, 1941, her flat was destroyed by a bomb Shortly after WWII is over, in 1947, Noel traveled to America to research film studios for her book The Painted Garden In 1949, she began delivering lectures on children s books Between 1949 and 1953, her plays, The Bell Family radio serials played on the Children s Hour and were frequently voted top play of the year Early in 1960s, she decided to stop writing adult novels, but did write some autobiographical novels, such as A Vicarage Family in 1963 She also had written 12 romance novels under the pen name Susan Scarlett Her children s books number at least 58 titles From July to December 1979, she suffered a series of small strokes and moved into a nursing home In 1983, she received the honor Officer of the Order of the British Empire OBE On 11 September 1986, she passed away in a nursing home.



10 thoughts on “Ballet Shoes

  1. says:

    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 withThis is that book.In the twenty first century, a particularly cynical reader might accuse the book of containing certain tropes 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 withThis is that book.In the twenty first century, a particularly cynical reader might accuse the book of containing certain tropes that have become so common as to be considered cliche these days The plucky British orphans the valiantly struggling relation the general bonhomie of the outside world, which makes everything somehow bearable the happy ending Yet note that I ve awarded this an unequivocal 5 stars That s because, sugary it may be and is but darn it, there are just some days when you re in the mood for sugar And plucky British orphans And happy endings And if you happen to be in such a mood on the day you read this book or listen to the audiobook version, as I did, then you re in for a five star treat Makes you believe the world is jolly good at that, old chum Pour me another cup of tea


  2. says:

    5 Words Classic, Christmas, talent, family, dance.This is one of my FAVOURITE books ever I read it year on year, oftenthan 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 5 Words Classic, Christmas, talent, family, dance.This is one of my FAVOURITE books ever I read it year on year, oftenthan 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 that makes you root for Petrova.And this edition It s gorgeous I think I have about 5 copies of this book and this one is by far the most beautiful And Christmas sy


  3. says:

    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 Becaus 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 of the Depression, they get training to earn money as performers on stage Pauline turns out to have a flair for acting, and Posy turns out to be a ballerina of rare genius Petrova hates the stage, and goes along with it only because she has to Her dream is to learn to fly an airplane It s a very different experience to love this book at age 10, read it at age 20 ish , and think about it at age 40 As a girl, I dreamed of being Posy, but I identified with Petrova, if only because of her Russian background In my 20 s, I was struck by how selfish Posy was about her art But now in my 40 s, and as a professional writer, I understand that inspiration IS selfish When you have something to create, it just takes over your life But all this reminiscing has given me other thoughts, too For one thing, I think the ending has a really positive message to girls, especially starry eyed ones who dream of the glamor of a stage career There s a difference between being famous and making history


  4. says:

    I had two career goals as a little girl I would be a ballerinaor 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.


  5. says:

    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.


  6. says:

    Professor Mathew Brown or Great Uncle Mathew or Gum, lives with his niece Sylvia and her nurse Nana, and from time to time takes off on expeditions from where he brings back fossils, adding to a huge collection which has to be thinned down from time to time One day he decides to travel by sea rather than land, and from three of these voyages brings back three little babies, either orphaned or whose parents are unable to take care of them, and these three little girls are Pauline, Petrova, and P Professor Mathew Brown or Great Uncle Mathew or Gum, lives with his niece Sylvia and her nurse Nana, and from time to time takes off on expeditions from where he brings back fossils, adding to a huge collection which has to be thinned down from time to time One day he decides to travel by sea rather than land, and from three of these voyages brings back three little babies, either orphaned or whose parents are unable to take care of them, and these three little girls are Pauline, Petrova, and Posy who comes with a pair of ballet shoes her mother gave her They take on the surname Fossil, for that is what ties them together But while Pauline dreams of being an actress, and Posy can be nothing but a dancer she is one , Petrova is happiest with cars and engines Gum hasn t returned from his latest expedition for long nor has been heard from, and money is tight, so Sylvia decides to take in boarders, and this leads not only to the children making new friends, but also entering the Children s Academy of Dancing, where Pauline and Posy are happy, and Petrova simply does all that is required of her so that she can begin earning and support the house as soon as possible that is at age 12, when no other option would be available to them We join them on their journey at the academy as their train to hone their different talents, begin their careers on the stage, and try to get their names into history books What a charming and lovely story this was I loved all the characters the three girls are all very likeable, and even when they have their difficult moments or sulks, they essentially remain nice girls Nana is sensible, yet not too strict Sylvia is also very young and must struggle to keep things going The boarders the Simpsons, a couple back home from Malaysia, Theo, who teaches at the Academy, and the two doctors of literature and mathematics, respectively are very likeable too, and one loves how all of them begin to become a big family, though each of them lead their own lives The girls time and experiences at the Academy reminded me very much of the other series from the 1940s that I ve been reading, The Blue Door series by Pamela Brown The hard work that goes into training and into the roles themselves, the fact that success can go to one s head very easily and fall from it can be truly hard, and of course, the joys that little successes and opportunities can bring This was a really gentle and sweet story which I truly enjoyed reading The lovely illustrations by Ruth Gervis add a lot to its charm Loved it


  7. says:

    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 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 of years, but it was not enough and soon, they ran short of it The sisters were all talented Pauline could act and recite and Posy wasn t very far from being a professional ballerina And Petrova was incredibly clever, although she was interested in cars and engines instead of performing arts As the girls grew up, they decided to act for money, so they could support their poor household They have made a vow regularly, because they believed they could achieve great things And because their names were unique, no one could say it was because of their grandfathers But the way towards their dreams isn t always easy.It is fairly obvious that some changes were required, so the film could be a family friendly one So that parents would not be too bored But to be honest, I liked the change I enjoyed the relationship and the mild romantic tension between Garnie and Mr Simpson and I really missed that in the book But I do understand that children might really not find that very interesting On the other hand, I m really sad the part with the Blue Bird play wasn t in the film as I think it could have been done in a really nice way To conclude, I would say that the book is probably as good as the film, but it s still leaning towards the statement that the film is a little bit better But it is a purely subjective view, because I m very sensitive towards films like thisand come on, this one has even got Emma Watson in it


  8. says:

    A wonderful reread of a childhood favourite.Just perfect


  9. says:

    I first came across this author when Noel Streatfeild was mentioned in one of my all time favourite movies, You ve Got Mail It prompted me to get at least two books this one and the one I read last year Then, I discovered that I had actually already known this story as I had seen a movie adaptation with a young Emma Watson some years ago Now, I m correcting the error of not having read the source material yet.The story is that of three young girls, a few years apart, who have been taken in I first came across this author when Noel Streatfeild was mentioned in one of my all time favourite movies, You ve Got Mail It prompted me to get at least two books this one and the one I read last year Then, I discovered that I had actually already known this story as I had seen a movie adaptation with a young Emma Watson some years ago Now, I m correcting the error of not having read the source material yet.The story is that of three young girls, a few years apart, who have been taken in by Mr Matthew Brown Uncle GUM Pauline is the oldest and was lost at sea after her and Uncle Gum s ship sank Nobody knows what s happened to her parents Petrova, the second oldest, is the daughter of Russian high borns that fell on hard times after the Revolution and died Posy, the youngest, is the daughter of a dancer who couldn t take care of her.While Uncle Matthew is on a years long voyage, the girls and Sylvia Uncle Matthew s niece and Nana fall on hard times financially until even turning their home into a boarding house hardly is enough to keep the little family going But even children can help in such situations In this case, they enter the Children s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training.Pauline is a talented actress, Posy a magnificent dancer only Petrova is too practical and would rather fly a plane than perform in any sort of way.This is the story of how they found their place in the world.The book was written in or around 1936 and the age shows in some opinions especially with Nana But it s still a charming little book full of very likeable characters unlike some in the other I ve read and the days and months and years fly by while we follow the girls as they practice and try to make a name for themselves.From fossils filled houses, to magnificent stages in theatres and even Hollywood, this reading journey was fantastic and made me feel all warm and cozy inside


  10. says:

    Reading this just made me happy Ridiculous, but true It s really a lovely book, with strong, sensible characters.


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