“I suppose I could stuff a bunch of tights and sew them on,” Bean’s mother mumbled. Bean and Ivy exchanged looks.
“Tights?” Bean said. “Like the kind you wear on your legs?”
Her mother looked up. “Yes, tights. Stuffed tights. For the tentacles. Do you have a better idea?”
Bean thought of the Wilis in their long feathery dresses. She thought of herself with stuffed tights bouncing around her waist.
“Tights it is!” said her mother.
“We’re going to look like idiots,” said Bean. (from Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance, page 69)
Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance is the sixth installment in the Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows, co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Ivy and Bean are two little girls who are best friends despite being opposites. In Doomed to Dance, Ivy and Bean beg their mothers to let them take ballet lessons, having read a book about “Giselle” and assuming they would play the part of “Wilis,” or ghosts that dance people to death. Their mothers, assuming they’ll want to quit shortly after starting their lessons, reluctantly allow them to take ballet. And of course, the girls discover right away that ballet isn’t what they expected. Ivy is clumsy, and Bean is bored. Worse, they discover that Madame Joy has cast them as squids in the “Wedding Beneath the Sea” recital. Not wanting to tell their mothers they want to quit, Ivy and Bean think of various ways to avoid playing squids, including spraining their legs and catching germs from classmates.
While The Girl has read a few of the Ivy + Bean books (unfortunately school commitments kept her from reading and reviewing this one with me), this was my first, and I’m happy to say I enjoyed it. Ivy and Bean are believable little girls; I saw a little of myself and my daughter in them. Barrows does a great job demonstrating how fickle kids can be at that age, drifting from one interest to another, and the lengths they will go to stay out of trouble -- though such attempts actually cause even more trouble! The illustrations by Sophie Blackall capture the girls’ facial expressions and complement the story perfectly. I can totally see why these books are popular among young girls (I think they’re a good fit for the 6-10 age group), and I wish they’d been around when I was a kid. I found myself chuckling as the two bumbled their way through ballet lessons, and especially when the playhouse started to sink and created an Ivy “taco.”
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Because the publisher is handling the shipping costs, this giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only. The deadline is 11:59 EST on Sunday, Dec. 20.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance from Chronicle Books for review purposes.