Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Three sisters, each completely different from the others. Pauline longs to act, Petrova is obsessed with motor cars and aeroplanes, and Posy loves to dance.

When Great-Uncle-Matthew (Gum for short) leaves home with only a note that says he has left enough money for five years in the bank, his great-niece Sylvia doesn’t know what to do. She sends Gum’s three adopted daughters to school for a while, and everything is fine. Then, when Sylvia finds the money Gum left is running out, she has to take the children away from school and take in boarders. Sylvia teaches the children, but she doesn’t teach very well and when two doctors ( who have degrees in literature and arithmetic) move in as boarders, they offer to teach the children for free. Also, a former ballerina moves in as a boarder, and tells Sylvia that the dancing school she teaches at will take the children for free, as long as when the girls have their licences, they give 10% of their earnings to the school. Sylvia immediately agrees.

When Pauline is old enough to get her first licence, she is tried for the part of Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”. She gets the part and is incredibly pleased.

After Pauline has acted in several plays, she is put in a movie. When she goes to the premiere of the film, there are lots of people jostling in a line, waiting to get Pauline’s autograph.She signs until her hand aches, then Nana (the children’s nurse) finds a policeman who takes them home.

As you can see this book is all about three sisters who are obsessed with dance and acting (and motor cars!). I won’t tell you any more of the plot, but you get the idea. It is one of a number by the same author e.g.Tennis shoes, White Boots (about skating) and so on.

I really enjoyed this book, but I must admit it got a little bit tiresome towards the end. I felt that it slightly turned out a bit too perfectly, but if you like books with lovely endings, this is the one for you. (Maybe the language was a bit dated, or I could just be being stupid, but does anyone know what paliasses are? Please comment and tell me if you know and someone hasn’t already!) It was written in 1936, so it’s quite an old story, therefore I couldn’t quite get to grips with how much shillings and pounds were worth (as in, if a pound was loads of money or a modest amount).

The edition I read was a full colour, beautifully published book made by the Folio Society, and was given to me, very generously, as a gift. I would just like to say thank you  to the Folio Society for the lovely book and if I had judged that book by its cover, and given it a rating, it would have 10/10!



3 thoughts on “Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild”

  1. I loved this book Peps when I read it as a child. Yes it is rather old fashioned as you would imagine from 1936 but it is still a story you can get into. By the way an old pound was worth 100 pence these days and a shilling was the equivalent of 5 pence now.
    Palisade was like a soft mattress. f you imagine a long sack the size of your bed frame stuffed with something softish (mind you they did use straw at sometimes) . This was then laid onto a bed frame often a folding bed.
    Hope that helps

    1. Thank you! Now I understand!
      I really did like the story, it’s just I am not very interested in dancing (or motor cars for that reason) so I found some of the story a little tedious
      Thank you so much again
      P.S. Paliasses must have been very uncomfortable if they were stuffed with straw!

  2. Thank you for your review on this book. I have also read this book and at one point I had to stop… It made me miss dancing incredibly! And I agree, it did seem to end a bit too perfectly, but I guess we think like that more and more as we grow up – and fairy tail endings become a bit of a bore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *