Sep 5, 2012

#TheList, No. 461: Ballet Shoes

Noel Streatfeild's novel about three young orphans pursuing ballet in order to earn money for their makeshift family is charming.  That's the best word I can think of to describe this book.  I think young girls around the 4th-6th grade will love it, even if they don't care for ballet (like me).  Yes, I was sexist and classified this as a "girl book." I'm sorry. 

Three young girls, Pauline, Petrova and Posy, all join a Dance Academy so that they can train and eventually earn money.  One actually enjoys dance, one prefers acting, and one grimaces and bears it while dreaming of working on engines.  I wish there was more focus on the engine story.  Her hatred of the arts is more of the focus, but Streatfeild does not delve into her actual interests enough for my taste.  I always enjoy a good rebel.  But her willingness to push through her discomfort is moving, and emphasizes the family values in this story. 

Some readers may find various parts of the book to be very tedious.  There are many, many, many lists of all the tasks the girls perform each day.  This includes what they wear and when, what they learn in classes, what they eat, etc. It's specific and helpful for visualizing, but only to a point.  It gets very repetitive and drags the story along. 

There's also a movie version of this book that stars Hermione Granger Emma Watson.  I haven't watched it just yet, but I trust her acting abilities (especially after seeing the Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer) so I do think I'll look into it. 

If I ever had to make a program surrounding this book, I'd have to go with any combination of the following:
-ballet/dance lesson
-designing your own tutu competition
-movie viewing
-Shakespeare lesson
-exercise program



  1. Its really Great work out i am so happy to see this you have very beautiful blog about ballet lots of people taking apart of ballet thanks .

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  2. Ended up on your site at the end of a long google chain. (I'm also reading the 1001 books) I was very excited to see this entry. As a youngish child I had read a book about ballet that I just loved, but, I could never remember the name of it and finally gave up on finding it. Now, I guess I probably would have eventually discovered the title reading the list, but, it was nice to come across the book with the same cover as the version I had. Apparently mine was the 1977 Puffin paperback edition.. I would never have found the book with the details I remember. I didn't even remember that they were orphans.. lol