I reckon there is a healthy debate over which series of books rule the roost for the 5-9 female demographic. Junie B. Jones is sure to have her legion of supporters, as will The Baby-sitters Club and The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, but it's a pair of 7 year old ladies that intrigue my girls the most.
Ivy & Bean, a relatively young series, has just released it's 6th book - Doomed to Dance. It's a riotous affair in which our two heroins beg to attend ballet class before quickly releasing the error of their ways. The bulk of the tale focuses on the ways in which Ivy & Bean scheme to avoid the end-of-class dance production to be held in front of friends, family and, worse of all, classmates.
Annie Barrows' writing in the series has never been sharper or funnier. There were several moments in Doomed to Dance where the Bear and I were in tears laughing. Barrows reaches for humor that works on multiple levels but never at the expense of emotion or civility (yeah, I'm talking 'bout you Junie B.) Her writing is truly top-notch.
Seeing as how the Ivy & Bean series is only up to 6 books, it's still really easy to get caught up with the two girls (*the books can definitely be read individually as there is no running story arc that is essential to understanding any particular book in the series). I cannot recommend Doomed to Dance, and the entire Ivy & Bean series of books, enough to anyone with girls ages 5-10.
Read the OWTK review of the 1st 3 Ivy & Bean books here.
*All the Ivy & Bean books, including "Doomed to Dance", were provided to OWTK for review. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true - no arm twisting took place in the review process.