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1001 Ballet Shoes
Added on 30th July 2020

Author Noel Streatfeild
First published 1936
Publisher JM Dent & Sons, London, UK

A classic story about family and following dreams.

Story

When money gets tight, three adopted sisters (Pauline, Petrova, and Posy Fossil) take to the stage to earn their keep. Pauline soon shows talent as an actress, and Posy as a dancer, while Petrova holds on to her dream of flying planes. The story follows their successes and struggles as they strive to uphold a vow to put their names in history books.

Why we chose it

A classic story for anyone who has ever wanted to go on the stage.

Where it came from

Ballet Shoes was the first children’s book by English author, playwright, and actress Noel Streatfeild (1895-1986). Encouraged by her editor and the success of ballet schools in 1930s London, Streatfeild drew from her own experiences as an actress to write a story about children working on the stage.

Where it went next

The book was an immediate success – copies were rationed and even Streatfeild was only allowed to buy two. It received numerous awards and has been listed by the Library Association as a book that “should always be in print”. Two film adaptations have been produced by the BBC, and the book has also been re-imagined as a children’s ballet.

Associated stories

Between 1936 and 1979, Noel Streatfeild wrote thirty eight books for children. The Fossil sisters reappear as adults in The Painted Garden (1949), the story of a family who move to America where one finds herself unexpectedly starring in a film. The Growing Summer and Thursday’s Child were both made into popular children’s BBC serials in the 1970s. Although only her second book Tennis Shoes included the word ‘shoes’, some of her books have since been renamed with ‘shoes’ titles to link them to Ballet Shoes. So Party Frock is now Party Shoes, The Circus is Coming became Circus Shoes and Curtain Up became Theatre Shoes.

Added on 30th July 2020

Author Noel Streatfeild
First published 1936
Publisher JM Dent & Sons, London, UK