Rereading Our Childhood

Rereading Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

July 27, 2023 Mary Grace McGeehan and Deborah Kalb Season 1 Episode 6
Rereading Our Childhood
Rereading Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Show Notes

On this episode, Deborah and Mary Grace discuss Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild's classic 1936 story of a trio of adopted sisters, Pauline, Petrova, and Posy, who attend a school for professional children in the performing arts in London. Ballet Shoes is the first in what became a series of "Shoes" books about children working in the theater, the circus, etc. 

As Deborah and Mary Grace mention, the girls perform in these plays:

The Blue Bird, by Maurice Maeterlinck (a large chunk of which, weirdly, appears in the text of Ballet Shoes)

A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare

Other Noel Streatfeild books mentioned in the podcast:

Circus Shoes (1938). As Deborah mentions, several of Streatfeild's books were retitled to capitalize on the popularity of Ballet Shoes. This book was originally titled The Circus is Coming

Skating Shoes (1951). This is the American title; it was published in the UK as White Boots

The Whicharts (1931). As Deborah mentions, Streatfeild's first novel, which is for adults, also features three adopted sisters. (According to an episode on Ballet Shoes on the wonderful Backlisted podcast, the books have identical openings.) 

Recommended by Mary Grace for fans of Ballet Shoes: We Danced in Bloomsbury Square by Jean Estoril (out of print, available from used booksellers). 

Recommended by Deborah for fans of Ballet Shoes: other books in the Shoes series. Shoes books available in the United States include Theater Shoes and Dancing Shoes.

The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. You can listen to it on Buzzsprout here. 

You can find Debby’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.

This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.

Podcast website at