Ivy and Bean are the most unlikely pair of friends on Pancake Court. Ivy wears dresses every day. Bean only wears dresses on special occasions. Ivy always has her nose in a book; Bean can never sit still. Despite her mother's constant nagging, Bean is convinced that Ivy is too boring to be a good friend. However, when Bean requires a quick escape after a failed prank on her bossy older sister, Ivy comes to the rescue.

Ivy is not only a creative escape artist but also an aspiring witch. She's learning her craft from a large spell book, but she doesn't look like much of a witch to Bean, who thinks an authentic look is a vital part of casting successful spells. She paints Ivy's face, ties up her hair and fixes her witch's cloak. Now that Ivy looks more like a witch, Bean thinks she might not be so boring after all. In fact, Ivy might be just the person Bean needs to help cure her sister's bossiness. Ivy and Bean decide that a dancing spell is the perfect solution. They assemble the necessary ingredients and begin work on their potion. Will a common goal unite these two complete opposites? Annie Barrows' simple and sassy text will draw in both the reluctant reader and the young bookworm. In this first book of a planned series, Barrows captures the spirit and imagination of a pair of seven-year-old girls, turning an ordinary cul-de-sac into a plethora of potential adventures. Sophie Blackall, a winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, uses charming illustrations to complement the text. The facial expressions on Blackall's characters are especially delightful, giving the reader another facet of Ivy's and Bean's personalities.

Fans of Beverly Cleary's Beezus and Ramona will enjoy this cleverly written and illustrated tale of sibling rivalry and unexpected friendship. Tracy Marchini works at a literary agency in Manhattan.

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