Dancing Shoes (The Shoe Books)

by Noel Streatfeild

Paperback, 1994



Local notes

PB Str





Yearling (1994), Edition: Dgs, 224 pages


After her mother's death, Rachel and her adopted sister Hilary are taken in by Aunt Cora, who runs a dancing school where Rachel's spoiled cousin Dulcie is the star pupil.

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

224 p.; 5.19 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member AnnieHidalgo
This book was so much fun for my daughter and I to read together. One thing to be aware of with Streatfeild though - she's very formulaic. The US versions make sure to point this out by renaming every book Something Shoes. Originally this book was called Wintle's Wonders, apparently. I love the
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slice-of-life, old fashioned, downtrodden-yet-still-genteel feel. My daughter just likes a good story that involves little girls, I think. And the stage. But back to my original point - if you've seen the movie Ballet Shoes, either the newish version with Emma Watson of Hermione fame, or the older version that takes place in Jean and Lionel's house from As Time Goes By, the basic plot structure will be very familiar to you. But that won't make it any less enjoyable. If you haven't seen/read Ballet Shoes, you should, though I may love it best because I read it first.
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LibraryThing member JenneB
I just reread this--still totally engrossing. I don't know quite what it is about her books that makes them so fascinating.
This one is mainly a commercial for Don't Raise Spoiled Children, but apparently even at age 31 I can't resist a story about DANCING ORPHANS.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
It took a while to get into this, because the characters are more complex than one would expect from a genre book like this, and at first they aren't particularly likable.  But after a while they grew on me, and I checked the GR community reviews, and decided to finish the book.  I'm glad I did.
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 I agree, pretty much, with the reviews over there.  The only thing I want to add is that I liked that the book had a variety of adult characters and something interesting to share about most of them... in fact, it reminded me of a typical Eva Ibbotson work that way.
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LibraryThing member T_K_Elliott
This is my favourite of Noel Streatfeild's 'Shoes' books, and has been ever since I read it years ago.

Partly it's because of the story of the plain, talentless Rachel, who eventually finds her own talent and happiness (being the plain sister can be pretty awful). However, it's not just about Rachel
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finding her own place, but also about her realising that not only can she not run her sister's life, but also she can't expect Hilary to live her life according to what her dead parents 'would have wanted'.

I also liked Hilary as a character, not because she's the pretty, lively one, but because she quite obviously knows what she wants - and it's not what everyone else thinks she ought to want. Hilary is quite cleverly written as one of the those people who are quite happy to go with flow - just until something comes up that is sufficiently important to them. We don't get to find out what Hilary really wants until the end, and that's something else that I liked. Hilary states that she wants to "get married and have lots of babies" instead of having a great career on the stage, and I like that Streatfeild puts that in. Streatfeild's heroines are usually career girls (women), and I think it's valuable that just this once, being a wife and mother is regarded as a worthy role for a woman. Girls today get bombarded with how they should "have it all". What's wrong with picking either home and family or career, and doing it to the full? Women's rights should be the right to choose for yourself, not the right to have your career path chosen for you by feminists instead of men. OK, rant over.

Even the loud, pushing Mrs Wintle isn't totally bad - she's a working woman running a business, and taking on the lion's share of the household expenses. She can't afford to add two children who do nothing to contribute, so of course Hilary and Rachel must join her dance troupe. There is also a real feeling that Mrs Wintle honestly can't understand why Rachel doesn't want to be a Little Wonder, or why anyone wouldn't want to. And besides, when you're running a business, 'want to' is a bit of a luxury anyway...

This is one of those books that has survived on my bookshelves, and it's as readable and and enjoyable for me now as it was when I first read it. What more can you say about a book?
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LibraryThing member niquetteb
Two girls, Rachel and her foster sister Hilary are sent to live with Rachel's Uncle Tom and Aunt Cora. They have one child, Dulcie who is a conceited little brat dancer. Hilary dances as well, but Rachel would rather read or act. Rachel is forced to dance even though she hates it.




½ (140 ratings; 4)
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