And so to carry on from the last post Missed Connections: Love, Lost and Found in which we learned about the talented illustrator Sophie Blackall…

A few weeks ago, I was helping out in the book booth at a school fair. As we sorted through the books I discovered a number of donations from a series called Ivy & Bean. Being in a household of boys I wasn’t familiar with them at all but was immediately enchanted by their quirky illustrations and sassy story lines. As I explored the world of Sophie Blackall for the last post, I realised she was the illustrator of Ivy & Bean!

The coincidence doesn’t stop there. Reading about Ivy & Bean I learned that the author of the series was none other than Annie Barrows. Wondering why that name sounds familiar? You’ve no doubt read one of her other works, the hugely popular The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. If you haven’t had a chance to read this yet, treat yourself soon!

But back to Ivy & Bean … These adorable tales are geared toward the elementary school aged girl but I’m convinced there’s wider appeal. Let’s take number 6 in the series: Doomed to Dance. My schooldays pal Molly and I could well have been the inspiration behind this story. When Molly and I were convinced we’d be the next prima ballerinas our gracious mothers enrolled us and diligently delivered us to Ms. McBirney’s ballet class once a week. Let’s just say it was grossly obvious from the start that we were delusional.

Aren’t the drawings tremendous? Sophie Blackall has a number of projects on the go – other illustrated storybooks and also a poignant project with her father. Take the time to visit her website here and enjoy her inspiring work.

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