Wednesday, August 29, 2012


In the midst of the mad morning dash to school and work there was a little beam of sunshine. My daughter, who has been having a love hate relationship with books lately, came downstairs with one of my well loved books - Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. It sat by her bowl as she ate her porridge and then was placed in her school bag for further reading during the day.

Ballet Shoes was one of my most loved books as a child. Mum read it to me several times then I read it myself again and again. I just loved those little Fossil girls.

Here's a blurb about the book from Book Depository:

Pauline, Petrova and Posy are found as orphaned babies in different parts of the world by eccentric fossil collector and explorer Gum. He adopts them, takes them to his London home and leaves them in the care of his niece Sylvia and the family Nurse. Then off he goes to continue his exploring, saying that he'll be back in five years' time. When the three little girls are old enough, they choose the surname Fossil for themselves and vow to make the name famous. At first they lead privileged and sheltered lives. But when Gum fails to return after five years, Sylvia's money begins to run out. First she is forced to take in some boarders - an engaging and eclectic mix of characters - but then she decides that the girls should go to acting school. This way they will be able to earn some money before they grow up. Pauline adores the school, as she dreams of becoming an actress. Petrova hates it, all she wants to do is learn about cars and planes and engines. Posy loves it too - she is born to be a dancer and the school is the perfect place for her.

Noel Streatfeild  went on to write a whole series of 'Shoe' books and many others as well, but Ballet Shoes is the only one I've read. You may have seen the tv movie from a couple of years ago starring Emma Watson. 

Ballet Shoes also got a mention in the Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan movie: 'You've Got Mail' - which is one of my favourite movies, but that's another story.

My copy has long lost its jacket and the green cloth cover is faded and worn, but of all the available editions, this one looks just right to me. 

And here's a picture from inside. Uncle Gum and the three Fossils.

Noel Streatfeild OBE 24 December 1895 – 11 September 1986
Have you read anything by Noel Streatfeild and what was your favourite children's book?

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