Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ivy + Bean Doomed to Dance - Book Review and Giveaway

My preschool daughter will perform in her second ballet recital this week. I don't expect to witness grace and perfection. In fact, I'm just looking forward to watching all the little girls spin around and have fun in their cute little ballet outfits. At this point in her life my daughter loves ballet. Her teacher describes the movements using descriptive and silly phrases like "squishing a bug" and "the tinkle position." And she attends class along with her best friend. Life couldn't get much better.

Not all children like ballet. The training requires patience and dedication. Annie Barrows, the author of the immensely popular Ivy and Bean book series, did not particularly enjoy her ballet experiences as a child. Her sixth Ivy and Bean book just released with the title, Doomed to Dance. That's right. Ivy and Bean take ballet and they HATE IT.

If you know a child aged 6-10, I'm sure you've heard of the Ivy and Bean chapter book series. The series stars Ivy and Bean, two girls in the second grade. Despite their differences they become best friends. They get into plenty of trouble and their hilarious adventures and antics appeal to young readers, particularly girls.

In Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance, the two girls read a very interesting book about different ballets and learn about Giselle, a ballet where the main character becomes a ghost and men dance to their deaths. All the kicking and leaping and ghostly action sounds like fun so they decide they want to take ballet lessons. But, after their first lesson they lose their excitement exclaiming, "We have made a terrible mistake." Instead of kicking and leaping and chances to perform as Giselle, they practice positions and pliƩs. Worst of all, they find out that they must perform as "the two friendly squids" for their recital. They want to quit but can't because they begged their parents for the lessons and promised they would finish. Desperate, they plot ways to avoid the dance recital.

Barrows clever, lively book made me chuckle several times! What kid wouldn't want to place long pieces of Scotch-tape on their fingernails and wave their hands pretending to be a ghost? Ivy and Bean even paint dead fish and make fish prints in their class at school. Sounds interesting! Not to mention the very original character names like teacher Ms. Aruba-Tate and classmates Zuzu and MacAdam. (Though I'm not sure how many kids will catch on why some of Madame Joy's students call her Madame "Jwah.") I haven't read the other books in the series but I did notice that the girls, at least in this book, display some naughty tendencies and don't exactly always model appropriate behavior. They discuss plans to run away and hide from their teacher while on a field trip to the aquarium. (Thankfully, consequences are mentioned alluding that the girls don't easily get off the hook and their teacher expresses disappointment in their actions.) Those mischievous ways are one of the reasons kids gravitate toward the books, and I think most young readers will realize they can should refrain from such actions and live vicariously through the two plucky characters. Numerous black and white illustrations by Sophie Blackall provide interest to the story and display emotion, and the book is set in larger font perfect for emerging readers. My daughter is still a bit too young for Ivy + Bean, but in a few years I hope to introduce her to the series.

Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Chronicle Books (September 2009); 128 pages; ISBN 9780811862660
Book Source: Review copy provided for free by publisher (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)




Related Links:
Chronicle Books - Ivy and Bean Website
Annie Barrows - Author Website
Sophie Blackall - Illustrator Website
Bookpage article "Behind the Book: Ballet, My Enemy" by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean Teachers Guide [pdf]

Win a copy! This review is part of the Ivy and Bean official blog tour, and Chronicle Books has kindly offered to give away a copy of Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US and Canada
• Contest ends on Monday, December 14th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 5; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Visit http://www.chroniclebooks.com/ivyandbean/ and comment with the name of another Ivy + Bean title
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
4th extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

53 comments:

Serena said...

No need to enter me, but I think these books are so cute. I'm supposed to be receiving one in the mail for review, but I haven't seen it yet.

shopannies said...

this book looks great I can only imagine reading this to my granddaughter will be so fun
shopannies@yahoo.com

shopannies said...

following on twitter and tweeted http://twitter.com/shopannies/status/6237400478

shopannies@yahoo.com

wmmahaney said...

I have a lovely little niece who would just love this book.
wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

The Allen Family said...

How I wish I had a daughter to watch at recitals. I guess I'll have to live with nieces. :)

rubynreba said...

This looks like a very cute book! Thanks for the chance to win it.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

The Allen Family said...

Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that had to go looks like a book even my boys would like.

Anonymous said...

My daughter LOVES Ivy and Bean. We have read all but this one. She would love to have this. Thanks trishbazin@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Ivy and Bean Bound to be bad was a fav in this house.
trishbazin@yahoo.com

Melissa Taylor said...

I tweeted about it (from @imaginationsoup). My 7 yr old LOVES this series but we haven't read this one yet!

Melissa Taylor

Arin said...

I teach dance-and so everyone thinks my three girls are doomed to dance as well-this would be so fun to win for them (ages 7.5.2)
arianiah@hotmail.com

Line R. Brake said...

Please enter me in the contest! The girls at my school absolutely LOVE Ivy&Bean! Those books are always checked out (which is a great problem to have!!!) clariline98@yahoo.com

Line R. Brake said...

I subscribed in my google reader. Please enter me again! My school loves these books! Line.
clariline98@yahoo.com

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Sara said...

My daughter loves to dance around the house. Her dance class is her favorite thing. We would love new books to read to her before bed!

Sara said...

follow on twitter and tweet http://twitter.com/SaraMama/status/6329331940

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book for my niece who loves to dance.

SamneneD@aol.com

AStarrA said...

OK has me at "the two girls read a very interesting book about different ballets and learn about Giselle, a ballet where the main character becomes a ghost and men dance to their deaths." Now I want to read it and I'm sure my daughter would love it too.

disintegratingstarr@hotmail.com

AStarrA said...

Ivy and Bean Book 1 because until today I have never heard of them, but will be reading them now :)

disintegratingstarr@hotmail.com

Megan said...

The Ivy and Bean books are so fun! My daughter would love to read this one!

mearley@twinlakes.k12.in.us

Megan said...

Another great book is Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter.

mearley@twinlakes.k12.in.us

GabbyLowe said...

My daughter has just starting reading chapter books this year and I think she would really like this sereies

timmiedeluca@comcast.net

GabbyLowe said...

http://twitter.com/GabbyLowe/status/6400165102

tweeted

timmiedeluca@comcast.net

LifeLongLearner said...

With all the current tv dance shows, this book is sure to be a popular title in our library media center. Please enter me for a chance to win it for our 603 elementary students.

shimmala said...

I didn't even know there was another Ivy & Bean coming out! Thanks for your giveaway...I wouldn't have known about this book otherwise. If I don't win I will most definitely be getting Ivy & Bean Doomed to Dance for my 6-year-old, who has already read all the other Ivy & Bean books voraciously!

shimonakatz (at) gmail (dot) com

Bombtastic Belle said...

My niece loves to dance, so this would be awesoem to read to her :)
eod_army_wife04(at)yahoo(dot)com

Winning Readings said...

My 2 1/2-year-old is convinced she is a ballerina, and I'm looking forward to starting her on lessons. This looks like a fun book - kind of a different take on the princess/ballerina theme.

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Winning Readings said...

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2009/12/ivy-bean.html

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Ginny said...

It is so fun watching the real little ones dance on stage! My girls are 8 & 12 & love dancing luckily. I think my youngest would get a kick out of this book!