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Posts Tagged ‘annie barrows’

With nothing else to do over the weekend but watch the snow fall and shovel it (and in The Girl’s case jump head-first in snow piles and emerge looking like a snowman), The Girl and I had some time to snuggle on the couch and read.  The Girl jumped at the chance to be included in her Auntie Serena’s tour post for Ivy + Bean:  Doomed to Dance written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, and she asked me to read the book to her.  Of course, I said yes, especially because now that she’s 9 and reading most things by herself, I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll have to read to her.

Anyway, I couldn’t let her visit Serena’s blog without having her answer a couple of questions for mine, right?  So here’s what I got out of her:

Me: Did you like the book?

The Girl: Of course.

Me: Okay…so what did you like about it?

The Girl: It was funny.

Me: Okay…and what was the funniest part?

The Girl: The squid with the huge eye.

Me: That was pretty funny.  So, why do you like the Ivy + Bean series so much.

The Girl: It’s funny.

Me: You were on the phone with Auntie Serena talking about the book for 10 or 15 minutes, and that’s all you have to say about it?

The Girl: You’ll have to read her blog to see my answers.

If you haven’t already, check out Serena’s review of Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance and her interview with The Girl.  My review of the book is here.

And the lucky winner of my Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance giveaway is Julie from Booking Mama. Congratulations! I hope you and Booking Daughter enjoy the book as much as The Girl and I did!

Disclosure:  We received a copy of Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance from Chronicle Books for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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“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 (read my review).  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.”

If you’d like to check out the Ivy + Bean books for yourself or for a child in your life, you’re in luck!  Courtesy of Chronicle Books, I have one copy of Ivy + Bean:  Doomed to Dance to give to one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address. 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 p.m. EST on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Ivy + Bean:  Doomed to Dance from Chronicle Books for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Yesterday, The Girl told me she finished Ivy & Bean Break the Fossil Record in two days. Later in the evening, she asked if she could write for a few minutes in bed before lights out, and of course, I agreed. When I went to bed a few hours later, a piece of notebook paper with her review was sitting on my pillow. How cute!

As I haven’t read this one myself, I can’t comment on the book. However, I do know that it’s the third book in the Ivy & Bean series, and The Girl hasn’t yet read the first book, though she owns it. Reading them out of order didn’t seem to affect her enjoyment.

Ivy & Bean Break the Fossil Record
written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Reviewed by The Girl (age eight)

This book is about two little girls named Ivy and Bean. Bean was in class one day. She was bored out of her mind. The teacher gave her a book called “The Amazing Book of World Records.”

Ivy and Bean looked at the book together. They wanted to break a record. They tried many things, only 1 worked. They broke the fossil record. I liked the part when Ivy tried putting straws in Bean’s mouth.

Disclosure:  The Girl received a copy of Ivy & Bean Break the Fossil Record as a gift. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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No beating around the bush with this review — I absolutely loved this book. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which I’ll abbreviate as Guernsey for the remainder of the review since that title is a mouthful) appears to be a light read at first glance, comprised of letters written by London-based writer Juliet Ashton, her publisher, and the various members of a literary society based in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands near England. But it is a very deep book that touches upon the horrors of war and the struggles people face when choosing to stand up for what is right despite the threat of death.

The year is 1946. Juliet is known for a column she wrote during World War II to lighten people’s moods, which is funny since she’s a bit moody (don’t ask her about her almost marriage to a soldier who died in the war). She receives a letter from a Mr. Dawsey Adams wondering if she could direct him to a store where he could purchase books by and about Charles Lamb. He contacted Juliet because her name and address were written in the Lamb book he carries with him and has grown to love. Dawsey lives on Guernsey, an island occupied by the Nazis during the war. When Juliet learns through his letter that a roast pig led to the creation of a literary society to avoid punishment by the Nazis for breaking curfew, Juliet gets an idea for a story and begins a correspondence with Dawsey and other members of the literary society.

In Guernsey, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows created many lovable characters. I immediately liked Juliet, and fell in love with the literary society members right along with her. The letters were beautifully written, and they flowed seamlessly from one to another. Each letter was written in the distinctive voice of a single character, yet put together, they created a rich picture of loss, survival, and joy experienced by the people of Guernsey under Nazi rule.

When Juliet travels to Guernsey and meets the people with whom she has been corresponding, she plans to get enough information to write a book. Her experiences on the island transform her, and her presence changes the people of Guernsey as well. I don’t want to go into the plot more than that because this is a gem of a story with many layers that you should peel back for yourself. Guernsey has received rave reviews from many bloggers, and it exceeded my high expectations. If you still haven’t read it yet, get your hands on a copy right away. You’re in for a real treat.

Disclosure:  I purchased my copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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