Biff is a small, plump pug with big dreams, he wants to be a ballerina but is met with the constant refrain ‘Dogs Don’t Do Ballet’.
The Story: A little girl tells us that her dog, Biff, isn’t like other dogs. Biff thinks that he’s a ballerina and becomes very sad when the little girl’s ballet teacher tells him to leave the ballet class. Biff surreptitiously follows Dad and the little girl to the theatre to watch the Royal Ballet but disaster strikes when the prima ballerina trips. Luckily Biff steps in and does an amazing performance but how will the audience react to a ballet dancing dog?
Biff is so determined to dance that he tries to join the little girl’s ballet class despite Dad saying that ‘Dogs Don’t Do Ballet’. He’s so upset when the teacher sends him home that he refuses to eat or come out of his kennel but his determination doesn’t stop him following his dream and leads him onto the stage.
There is so much humour in Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations, we find the scene with the prima ballerina tripping over funny (not that we’re laughing at her misfortune but at where she lands!). Biff has some wonderful expressions to portray his emotions, his expression when he meets the little girl’s teacher matches the teacher’s haughty stance and a picture of him refusing to eat makes us really sad. I love the picture of Biff and the little girl watching ballet on television and my daughter likes following the succession of pictures showing Biff dancing on the stage. Dressed in the little girl’s pink tutu he stuns the audience with his performance and proves that Dogs DO do Ballet!
This is a lovely story for showing children that it is important to follow your dreams. Despite constantly hearing ‘Dogs Don’t Do Ballet’ Biff is determined to prove everybody wrong and takes an opportunity when it is given to him. The story would be great to use in the classroom to stimulate discussion about dreams and aspirations.
Dogs don’t do Ballet is a lovely, feelgood story for wannabe dancers and artists everywhere!
Age Range: 3 +
Author: Anna Kemp / Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie