From the very first ‘ew!’ (“weeing on lamp-posts and drinking out of the toilet”) the kids I read this to were utterly hooked. We feel passionately for the little pug Biff, who so badly wants to be a ballerina. But “dogs don’t do ballet!” as several of the characters remind us from the start. But! Triumph in the face of adversity. The author skilfully leads us on a journey of self-belief, and acceptance.
The little girl who owns Biff tries to get her Dad to let Biff go to the ballet, but he won’t have it, after all… “Dogs don’t do ballet!” However Sarah Ogilvie’s brilliantly characterised illustrations show Biff cleverly sneaking around after his owner, eyeing up her tutu, watching her ballet class… only to be told, time and again, that dogs don’t do ballet. Sarah achieves that holy grail of illustration – giving us something we don’t find in the words. Making us use our eyes to see what’s really going on (Biff is one sneaky doggy!)
Hearts will break over the pictures of little Biff - howling at the moon from his kennel, little ears dropping, sad brown eyes sparkling - as he is constantly being told he isn’t supposed to do ballet. Surely he is going to give up on his life-long dream? But Biff has another idea. Being one determined pooch, he sneaks along to the ballet. All is going well in the show when, suddenly, disaster strikes and the ballerina crashes to the floor. But the show must go on… is this Biff’s moment?
This brilliant debut book from Anna Kemp teaches children to accept others and themselves as they are. It’s fun, charming and thoughtful and the vibrant illustrations by Sarah Ogilvie give the characters bundles of energy and life. Sure to become a household favourite to all who read it!