This website is devoted to an exploration of Noel Streatfeild's first book for children, Ballet Shoes.  Here you can discover

Sources used are listed at the bottom of each page as well as in the Bibliography.


2011, Puffin (UK)
Ballet Shoes is the story of Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil, who live in Cromwell Road in London. They were "collected" by Great Uncle Matthew (a.k.a. "Gum"), who travels the world in search of fossils. He returns periodically to deposit his treasures in the house on Cromwell Road, and delivers the girls to the care of his niece, Sylvia, in the same rather haphazard yet charming manner. Sylvia, whom the girls call "Garnie" (for Guardian) raises the girls with a great deal of help from Nana. When Gum doesn't return for some time, finances become an issue, and Sylvia is forced to take in boarders. But this hardship becomes a blessing as two retired female professors, Dr. Smith and Dr. Jakes teach the girls math and English (Shakespeare), respectively.  Mr. Simpson allows Petrova, who loves all things mechanical, to help in his garage. After seeing Posy dance, Theo Dane, a dance teacher, arranges for the girls to attend the Madame Fidolia's Dance Academy where she teaches for no charge. The idea is that the girls will be trained for the stage where they will be able to earn an income (one could get a license at age 12, which Pauline turns in the course of the novel). Money becomes more and more of an issue as time passes with no word from Gum. Details of audition dresses, costumes, and rehearsals provide a behind the scenes glimpse into a life on stage. Pauline is a natural actress, Posy is a truly gifted talented dancer (she is the one who was left with a pair of ballet shoes as an infant) and Petrova endures for necessity's sake. And it all turns out well in the end.