Ballet Shoes

Common Sense Media says

Fascinating for kids who dance or act.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Great-Uncle Matthew refers to his family as a "pack of women." Mr. Simpson briefly mentions a strike by Malaysian "natives." Posy performs occasionally mean-spirited imitations of teachers and fellow students.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the nontraditional plot may bore kids who aren't into ballet.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When adventurer Great-Uncle Matthew must stop collecting fossils, he decides to collect orphans instead, but after he disappears on an expedition, his niece, Sylvia, is left a dwindling bank account and two sisters to raise.

The family's luck begins to change when Sylvia takes in boarders to help pay the bills. Two, including a dance instructor, offer to educate the children for free; she arranges for free tuition to a performing-arts school.

The academy's regal director, Madame Fidolia, soon recognizes Posy's ballet talents and takes her under her wing. Pauline shines in drama class, and Petrova squeaks by while privately pursuing her passion for fixing automobiles.

The story follows the three Fossil sisters as they attend rehearsals, audition for roles, and shine in performances. By the novel's end, Pauline, Posy, and Petrova are ready for their chosen careers.

Is it any good?


This will become a favorite for children who dream of a life on the stage. To kids who love dancing or acting, the Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training will seem a magical place, and every detail -- from barre practice to auditions to backstage antics -- will be fascinating.

Children who don't fantasize about performing, however, will probably be mystified by the excruciating level of detail about every aspect of the girls' training. The inclusion of almost 10 pages of a play script, for example, won't make sense to many readers; but those who would love to be Pauline probably will be acting out the scenes.

Following the girls from birth into their teens, the story often glides through a whole year in a single page. Some readers might need help adjusting to a novel in which career development, rather than specific school or family issues, is the focus. Diane Goode's lighthearted drawings don't match the more serious tone of the text.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about pursuing passions. What challenges do the girls face as they follow their interests? How do they deal with them? Do you share any of their interests? What do you like about the girls' choices? What do you disagree with? Do you have a dream you're pursuing?

Book details

Author:Noel Streatfeild
Illustrator:Diane Goode
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:November 23, 1993
Number of pages:281
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Ballet Shoes was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bySmaltby December 1, 2010


One of my all time favourite books when I was little. Had my coppy since I was a bout 6 and still read it now. really sweet story.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bystuartie April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 13 years old Written byPunky5558 June 26, 2012

The best book in the world!!!!!!!!

I love this book! It is the best book I've ever read. I can't believe it would be that good!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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