Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance

Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance

Annie Barrows
Illustrator:  Sophie Blackall 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Chronicle Books, 2009   ISBN: 978-0811862660

It is Ivy’s grandmother’s fault. After all, she is the one who sent Ivy the book about ballet. Ivy and Bean read the stories of some of the most well-known ballets and after reading the tragic tale about Giselle, they decide that they “have to take ballet lessons.” They can’t wait to jump and leap, and are eager to play the part of ghosts who can make a person dance until they drop dead, just as the ghosts do in Giselle.

   Ivy and Bean’s mothers are all too familiar with the way in which their daughters get wrapped up in a new interest, only to quit not long after they start. The mothers both insist that if the girls take up ballet they have to stick with it and they cannot whine or complain. They girls promise that they will take ballet for a full session and they will not complain about anything to do with their lessons. The girls are convinced that it is going to be easy to keep their promise.

   Ivy and Bean aren’t in ballet long before they realize that they have made a “terrible mistake.” The lessons are incredibly boring, and they are both pretty bad at dancing, especially Ivy who keeps falling over. They have no choice but to go to their lessons and endure Madame Joy and her “kitty” and butterfly dances.

   Then Madame Joy announces that the girls in the class are going to participate in The World Of Dance. They will be representing ballet and will be performing a dance called “Wedding Beneath the Sea.” Ivy and Bean are going to “two friendly squids.” Ivy and Bean thought that their ballet lessons were bad, but the prospect of being squids on stage is infinitely worse. Somehow they have to get out of being in The World of Dance. Maybe they can sprain a limb or get sick. Maybe they will have to run away for a while.

   Ivy and Bean tend to rush into things without being fully aware of what they are getting into, and the consequences are often delightfully funny.  As their ballet misadventures unfold we see the friends get into all kinds of tricky situations. Readers who have been following the doings of these two girls are going to love this sixth Ivy and Bean tale, and newcomers to the series will quickly feel a connection with the best friends.