Ballet Shoes

Ballet Shoes

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679847595
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 11/28/1993
Series: The Shoe Books Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 44,725
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.62(d)
Lexile: 930L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Noel Streatfeild was born in Sussex in 1895 and 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 the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she became a professional actress. She began writing children's books in 1931 and Ballet Shoes was published in 1936. She 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 in 1983. Noel Streatfeild lived in London. She died in 1986.

Read an Excerpt

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 so one could be taken to look at the dolls’ houses in the Victoria and Albert every wet day. If the weather were not too wet, one was expected to “save the penny and walk.”


 
Saving the penny and walking was a great feature of their lives.
 
“Gum,” Pauline, the oldest, would say, “must have been a very taxi person; he couldn’t have ever thought about walking or he’d never have bought a house at the far end of the longest road in London.”
 
“I expect,” Petrova, the second, would argue, “he had a motorcar all his own, and he never hired anything.”
 
G.U.M. was the quick way of saying Great-Uncle Matthew. He was a legendary figure to the children, as he had gone on a voyage, and not come back, before any of them were old enough to remember him clearly. He had, however, been of the utmost importance in their lives.
 
“He’s been,” Pauline once said, “like the stork in the fairy tale. He very nearly did bring us in his beak.” Storks in the Fossil children’s nursery were always called Gums after that.
 
Gum had been a very important person. He had collected some of the finest fossils in the world, and though to many people fossils may not seem to be very interesting things to collect, there are others who find them as absorbing as sensible collections, such as stamps. Collecting fossils, he naturally needed somewhere to put them, and that is how he came to buy the house in the Cromwell Road. It had large rooms, and about six floors, including the basement, and on every floor, and in almost every room, he kept fossils. Naturally a house like that needed somebody to look after it, and he found just the right person. Gum had one nephew, who had died leaving a widow and a little girl. What was more suitable than to invite the widow and her child Sylvia, and Nana her nurse, to live in the house and take care of it for him? Ten years later the widowed niece died, but by then his great-niece Sylvia was sixteen, so she, helped by Nana, took her mother’s place, and saw that the house and the fossils were all right.
 
Sometimes when the house got too full Nana would say:
 
“Now, Miss Sylvia dear, you must tell your uncle not another fossil until a few have gone out of the door.”
 
Sylvia hated saying this, but she was far too much in awe of Nana to do anything else. Terrible upsets were the result. First Gum said no fossil would leave the house except over his dead body. Then, when he’d toned down a little and realized some had to go, in spite of his body being anything but dead, he would collect a few small, rather bad specimens and give them away. Then, after a day or two, during which he mooned round the house under Nana’s stern eyes and Sylvia’s rather sorry ones, a notice would suddenly appear in The Times, to say that Professor Matthew Brown had given another generous gift of fossils to a museum. That meant that men would come with packing-cases and take some of the most important (which often meant the largest) fossils away. Nana would settle down with a sigh of contentment to cleaning those places where the fossils had stood, and Sylvia would comfort Gum by listening to his descriptions of where he was going to look for some more.
 
It was while looking for some more that the accident happened which put an end to Gum’s fossil-hunting forever. He had climbed a mountain after a particular specimen, and he slipped and fell hundreds of feet, and crushed his leg so badly that he had to have it taken off.
 
You would have thought that a man who lived for nothing but fossils would have felt that there was nothing left to do when he couldn’t go and look for them anymore, but Gum wasn’t that sort of man.
 
“I have traveled a lot on land, my dear,” he said to Sylvia, “but very little by sea. Now I shall really see the world. And maybe I’ll be finding something interesting to bring back.”
 
“There’s no need to do that, sir,” Nana broke in firmly. “The house is full enough as it is. We don’t want a lot of carved elephants and that about the place.”
 
“Carved elephants!” Gum gave Nana a scornful look. “The world is full of entrancements, woman, any of which I might bring home, and you talk to me of carved elephants!”
 
But Nana held her ground.
 
“All right, sir; I’m sure I’m pleased you should see these entrancements, as you call them, but you let them bide. We want nothing more in this house.”
 
The entrancement that Gum actually brought home was Pauline.
 
The ship on which he was traveling struck an iceberg, and all the passengers had to take to the boats. In the night one of the boats filled with water and the passengers were thrown into the sea. Gum’s boat went to the rescue, but by the time it got there everybody was drowned except a baby who was lying on a lifebelt, cooing happily. Gum collected the baby and wrapped her in his coat, and when they were at last rescued by a liner and taken to England, tried to find out to whom she belonged. That was the trouble. Nobody knew for sure whose baby she was; there had been other babies on board, and three were missing. She must go to an orphanage for female orphans, said everybody; but Gum said “No” to that. Things he found went to the Cromwell Road. He had meant to bring Sylvia back a present. Now, what could be better than this? He fussed and fumed while the adoption papers were made out, then he tucked the baby into the crook of his left arm, took his shabby old holdall in his right, and limping because of his game leg, walked to the railway station, and went home to London and the Cromwell Road.
 

Customer Reviews

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Ballet Shoes 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Annabell22 More than 1 year ago
This is a go to book easy classic, I buy it for all the new baby girls in my family. Even I keep a copy for myself as a fun read. Great Book!
7Emphatic More than 1 year ago
I don't know if anyone sacrafices for the people they love like these girls sacrafice for eachother.You are certainly likely to feel you've been lazy after reading the story of these hard working passion filled characters. My only disappointment with the book is a particular characters bad luck in acting roles because of her looks. Though this is likely how the acting world works it is sad to see in a kids book someone being rejected because of how pretty they are.
andsobo More than 1 year ago
My mother bought this story for me as a child when I wanted nothing more than to dance for a living. So well-written, I read and re-read this and my other favorite Noel Streatfeild story, "Dancing Shoes" long after I had outgrown them. The books provided me wonderful examples of writing and grammar, which I then applied to my studies. The stories themselves are based on real places in London and also provide a great perspective on British life which came in remarkably handy more than thirty years later in business. Please share them with your child. You will be most pleased that you did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a great storyline and a lot of substance, which is hard to find in a book these days. It is about 3 girls with dreams and ambitions and they learn to choose the paths that they will take in their lives. If you read this book, it might change your life. It really changed mine! Noel Streatfield has a wonderful way with words and obviously studied her topics very well. It is very fluent reading that is easy for everyone to enjoy.I am a dancer in training and this really influenced me! It is my very favorite book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about 3 girls who's guardian became poor when they were little so it was suggested for them to go to The Academy of Stage and Dance Training. They all find their talents quickly. Pauline is a great actress,Posy is a born dancer, and Petrova finds out she would rather pilot a plane or drive a motorcar rather than do a pierouette. I've read this book about 30 times, but I love it, and I reccomend this book for nine years olds or older. Also, I've heard Tennis Shoes is great for boys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book, it was okay. Sort of funny, but I didn't quite like how it was written. There are a lot better written books to enjoy! This book has a lesson one of the main characters learn: Don't get a swelled head. That's pretty much it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the book! I feel some parts were hard to understand, but other then that I loved it. I learned a lot about dancing and how friendship is so important in life. I think most people will enjoy the book, I know i did.

Jen, age 13
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was everything i wanted it to be and more it was AMAZINGLY GREAT! If you are interested in the arts of dancing and theater you will really enjoy this book immensly! Read this book and you will not be disappointed! P.S. if you get bored with it keep going it gets better. 'there are a few melow parts'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because, it shows people shining even through hard times. I also like it because, the fossils vow to make their own name FAMOUS!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a ballet dancer and I saw the movie 'ballet shoes' in a Blockbuster and I wanted to read the book before I watched the movie. Honestly I didn't get through the first 50 pages of the book I found it so tantilizing and boring. Though the story line was interesting enough I was never able to finish the book. To this day the book sits on my bookshelf half read, I don't think I'll ever finish it.