Shakers -- these are the ""dancing saints"" of the title -- and for the first time they seem real to me, not just an almost mythical sect that is responsible for some of the finest of the New England handicraft work. Just as Maurine Whipple and Virginia Soreneon made the Mormons emerge as human beings, so Miss Leslie has given the Shakers qualities that make then live. The story is built around a boy whose mother has left him -- and his baby sister -- to the Shakers until they come of age. There is a good deal about the ceremonies, the spirit, the pattern of life, but Orville, slow in naturing, gifted but ignorant of his gift, awnyed easily by the protective security of life -- and then by the impact of ""the world"" -- is ably drawn. More and more is known today of the numerpus communities which made their contribution to American life. This serves a purpose -- and is a readable tale.