Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ballyhoo Bay

Ballyhoo Bay

Judy Sierra
Illustrator:  Derek Anderson 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-1416958888

Every Saturday morning Mira Bella, an artist, gives art lessons on the beach. The great thing is that she teaches all kinds of er…individuals. She teaches kids and grannies how to etch and sketch, she teaches swordfish and squids how to sculpt (underwater), and the gulls create the most amazing “trash-art sensations.” Even the sea squirts get in on the act, creating “dyed T-shirts by spitting on stencils.”

Everyone is looking forward to the first of June which is when Mira Bella is planning to have the Ballyhoo Art Fair and Recycled Art-Cycle Race. You can only imagine how devastated Mira Bella and her friends and students are when they discover that builders are planning on putting an apartment complex with a “crystal casino as high as a cloud” on their beloved beach. The children and critters are all ready to pack up and give up, but Mira Bella is made of sterner stuff. If they want to save their beach, they are going to have to speak up!

In this wonderfully empowering picture book, Judy Sierra celebrates the joy that making art brings to all kinds of people, and she shows her readers how important it is to defend the things that you value and hold dear. If someone is threatening something you care about, you have to take a stand, and speak out. Even if you are a squid or a whale.