Book Review: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield

Read between: 10th-21st December
Number of pages: 189
Format: Hardback
Publisher: MDS Books (2004)
Synopsis: Pauline, Petrova and Posy are three orphans who were adopted by babies by Great Uncle Matthew (or GUM for short) and given the surname Fossil after his hobby of fossil collecting. GUM sets off on a long sea voyage and the money he has left behind is running out fast, when they are accepted as charity pupils at the Children’s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training. There they determine to make the name ‘Fossil’ famous, each in their own way.

The different personalities and talents of the children are vividly described. Posy is by far the best dancer, Pauline is a brilliant actress and Petrova- well, Petrova is more interested in aeroplanes. This beautiful story in which children succeed on their own, without running to grown-ups for help, will inspire every reader to strive to fulfill their own life ambitions, and to persevere until they achieve them.
Rating: 

Review: Ballet shoes is a much loved children’s classic-and it’s very clear to see why.

Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil are sisters by circumstance and following them as they grew up throughout the story was a delight to read- even if sometimes they acted their ages and sometimes were very bratty. They grow up so much in the absence of Great Uncle Matthew that even he is surprised to find young women, rather than babies, when he eventually returns from his voyage.

Although this was a re-read for me it felt like I was reading it with fresh eyes- I fell in love with the sisters all over again, they are all individual in their and talents and completely adore each other- that bond cannot be taken away. I can’t decide which sister is my favourite- they each have their flaws as well as things about them that makes them unique.

One thing I did like was that they respected the people who bought them up, this could be down to the time period when the book was written, but respect and manners are important and it contrasts against some of the attitudes I’ve found in many female YA protagonists of today.

I would recommend Ballet Shoes to those who want a book that features family, ambition, and the bond between sisters. Even though they were not related by blood- they took their name and put it into the world.

Sometimes the writing style and language got to me- but that’s just me being picky. It’s a lovely story and although I can’t relate as I have no sisters of my own, I enjoyed the story immensely.
4/5 stars.
I hope it remains a classic for many years to come!

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