Dancing Shoes

Dancing Shoes

by Noel Streatfeild, Noel Steatfeild

Paperback(1st Bullseye Books ed)

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A beautiful gift edition of the beloved classic about two orphan sisters and their newfound love of theater and dance.
After losing their mother, Rachel and her adopted sister, Hilary, move in with their aunt, Cora Wintle. Cora runs a dancing school in London, and she thinks Hilary would be perfect for her dance troupe, Wintle's Little Wonders! The only problem is that Hilary might be as good as Cora's own precious daughter, Dulcie. Still, Cora is determined to make sulky Rachel and sprightly Hilary members of the troupe.

But Rachel doesn't want to be a Little Wonder! She can't dance, and she feels silly in the ruffly costume. Nothing seems to be going as planned . . . until Rachel discovers her talent for acting. 

This classic children's book is perfect for kids who dream of being onstage—dancing, singing, or acting. Don't miss the other classic Noel Streatfeild books Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, and Dancing Shoes!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679854289
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/28/1994
Series: Shoe Books Series
Edition description: 1st Bullseye Books ed
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 79,873
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.69(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Noel Streatfeild was born in Sussex, England, in 1895 and was one of three sisters. Although she was considered the plain sister, she ended up leading the most glamorous and exciting life! After working in munitions factories and canteens for the armed forces when World War I broke out, Noel followed her dream of being onstage 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. According to her publisher, Penguin, fans lined up "right out of the building and all the way down the Mall" when she visited Puffin exhibitions. She was one of the earliest winners of the Carnegie Medal and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1983. Noel Streatfeild lived in London. She died in 1986.

Read an Excerpt

The School of Dancing was in North London. Outside it looked just an ordinary house, rather big perhaps for the shabby neighborhood to which it belonged. But it was anything but ordinary to the neighbors, who knew that in it were trained Mrs. Wintle's Little Wonders.

Cora Wintle had danced on the stage. She had never got beyond the chorus, for though she danced well she did not have a good figure, nor was she pretty. But she had loved the life and had found it hard to give it up when she had fallen in love and married an artist called Tom Lennox. Tom was a good painter, but a poor earner of money.

Tom and Cora had been married about a year when they had a baby. She was a little girl, and they christened her Dulcie. It was after Dulcie was born that Cora saw that if she was to bring the child up properly she must have more money than Tom was likely to earn. That was when she had her big idea. Why should she waste her dancing talent? She was getting old for chorus work and anyway she could not be away from home, but why should she not teach others to dance?

Cora was a person who usually by determination got her own way. If she had not been that type she would never have got into any chorus, for she was usually turned down at sight. But she had refused to be beaten and had worn managements down by her persistence until they had said: "Engage Cora Wintle. I'm tired of saying no."

The dancing school had its start two days after Cora had first thought of it. She was out shopping with Dulcie when by mistake she pushed the perambulator into a passer-by, a woman, not at all young but fat and cozy-looking. The woman won her way straight to Cora's heart by not being at all angry about the perambulator hitting her in the stomach but instead being rapturous about Dulcie.

"Oh, what a little love," she said in a warm, purry voice. "I've looked after many a baby in my time, but I never saw a prettier."

That conversation led to a cup of tea in a shop. There is nothing like a cup of tea for telling things. In no time Cora was explaining about Tom not earning much, and her dream of a dancing school. "I was well trained myself, and I would see any child that came to me was well trained. I shall call myself Wintle, as that's how I'm known in the theater. Tom won't mind."

The stranger, whose name was Miss Purser, then told Cora about herself. "I've been a children's Nanny since I was a slip of a girl, but now, provided I can be with children, I might give it up. My ship's come in, so to speak, only I wish it hadn't the way it has. One of my babies, the Honorable George Point . . . maybe you read of it in the papers. Eaten by a shark he was."

"Goodness," said Cora, "a shark! Just fancy, and him an Honorable too."

Miss Purser shook her head. "No respecter of persons, sharks aren't. Well, when the will was read it was found he'd left his old Nan a little money and a house, bless him. In North London the house is, not a nice part, and a great barrack of a place."

The idea hit them both at the same moment. There was Miss Purser with a house suitable for a dancing school, and wanting to be with children, and there was Cora with the training to teach children to dance. Why should they not become partners?

A few months later Cora moved her family, and Miss Purser moved herself, into Miss Purser's house. Cora put an advertisement in the local paper:

Cora Wintle, teacher of children for the stage.

Classes daily. 67, Ford Road, Tel. PRImrose 15150.

She showed the advertisement to Miss Purser, whom by then she was calling Pursey.

"How's that, Pursey?"

"Very nice, Mrs. Wintle. Now I do wonder who your first pupil will be."

It was not a pupil who first answered the advertisement but a theater manager who had liked Cora. "Is that the Cora Wintle who was on tour with my Sparklers' Company?"

Cora said it was.

"Well, I saw your advert., and I'd like to do something for an old friend. Next summer I shall want twelve kiddies for a show I'm touring round the seaside towns. You going in for troupes?"

Cora was not a person to let an opportunity pass. Even as the manager was speaking she could see troupes of children trained by her dancing all over the country. "I certainly am."

"What are you calling them, dear?"

There was a tiny pause while Cora thought hard. Then the answer came to her. "Mrs. Wintle's Little Wonders."

In ten years everybody except Tom had stopped calling Cora by her Christian name. She was Mrs. Wintle or Mrs. W. wherever she went. The school was a great success, the Little Wonders were known to everybody in the theater world, and they had appeared in films and on television. When the school started Cora had been the only dancing teacher, and Pursey had done everything else in the house. But soon there were two other teachers besides Cora—Pat and Ena—and Pursey was supposed to be only the wardrobe mistress and to employ the matrons who looked after the children when they were working. Actually Pursey never was only the wardrobe mistress, for she went on being the person everybody—staff, children, and Tom—came to whenever they wanted something, were unhappy, or had a worry.

Being the owner of the successful Little Wonders' Troupes changed Mrs. Wintle. There were plenty of other schools training children for the stage, and it meant pushing harder than anyone else to get her dancers known. A person who spends all his or her life pushing to get to the top gets tough as a result of working so hard. This happened to Mrs. Wintle. She became a rather frightening person. In fact, sometimes people said she had a stone where other people had a heart.

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Dancing Shoes 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book! You don't have to be a dancer to like it. I'm not one and I loved it! I first read it when I was about 8 or 9. Since then I have read the book over and over again because it is so good. Now I'm 14 and I am once again reading it!
AnnieHidalgo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was so much fun for my daughter and I to read together. One thing to be aware of with Streatfeild though - she's very formulaic. The US versions make sure to point this out by renaming every book Something Shoes. Originally this book was called Wintle's Wonders, apparently. I love the slice-of-life, old fashioned, downtrodden-yet-still-genteel feel. My daughter just likes a good story that involves little girls, I think. And the stage. But back to my original point - if you've seen the movie Ballet Shoes, either the newish version with Emma Watson of Hermione fame, or the older version that takes place in Jean and Lionel's house from As Time Goes By, the basic plot structure will be very familiar to you. But that won't make it any less enjoyable. If you haven't seen/read Ballet Shoes, you should, though I may love it best because I read it first.
beautybabydoll More than 1 year ago
Amazing, and totally worth the read! Not too long, not too short, a perfect read. I'm 14 and I'm reading the book again!
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, "Ballet 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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
told me how lucky I am, and was interesting to the very end
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book to read aloud to small girls, or girls who love to dance. The characters are fun and realistic, and it is a well written book. I'm 14 years old, I don't dance, and I still love this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dancing Shoes is one of my favorite books. It is about two girls whose mother has died. One of the girls, Hilary, is a great dancer, and her teacher in their village thinks she is destined for Covent Garden. Rachel, on the other hand, has never taken dance. Hilary's teacher has never wanted Hilary to learn acrobatics and types of dancing like high kicks, and she made Rachel promise to never to let Hilary do so. Hilary and Rachel's aunt, Cora Wintle, however, is a dance teacher known for teaching these sort of things. She is insistent on teaching Hilary and making her one of 'Miss Wintle's Little Wonders'. I have read this book many, many times, and I recommend it to anyone! I also enjoyed Ballet Shoes (It's better than Dancing Shoes), and the books Theatre Shoes and Skating Shoes . They are not quite as good though. I hope this review and my recommendations helped!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really really really liked this book. it is one of my favorite books(the others are the sisterhood of the traveling pants books). i thought this book was really good and funny. i loved this book alot, alot, alot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book for dancers, and I should know since I am one! Even if you aren't a dancer, you will enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is SO, SO,SO good! Definitely one of my favs! As I looked over other peeps reviews they say good book for dancers,etc. I am not a dancer(although I like 2 dance) but I still enjoyed the book! You don't have 2 be interested in dancing to enjoy the book! You should luv it anywayz!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book!! I had read skating shoes before, so decided to give dancing shoes a try and it was super!!! Anyone who loves to dance, any kind will adore this book, it is one you will not be able to put down. The storyline is great, and you find yourself really getting into the lives of the sisters! I make my dancers read a different dance story every two months, either fiction or non, and this was their favorite one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was funny, but kind of sad in parts. It was GREAT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for dancers. You will enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about two orphan stepsisters who are sent to live with their snotty aunt and rude cousin.The main characters are Hilary and Rachel Lennox and Dulcie Wintle.The story is about R. wanting H. to go the Royal Ballet School.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly inspiring!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read it and loved it. The ending is sooo good. You'll love this book