Rummanah Aasi
  As a kid, I was a reluctant reader. Books bored me and made me think of homework. I never understood why people would read (i.e. do more homework outside of what was required) at home and think it was fun? I had a much better time watching t.v. where story lines and characters who were like me came to life. My older siblings gave me several books to read. One of them was the Betsy series by Carolyn Haywood. Betsy and I did not get along at all. She was too nice and sweet and never got in trouble. Seriously, what little kid never got in trouble or came up with mischievous plans? Thank God Ramona Quimby came along and saved me. I think little old me would also have loved reading Ivy and Bean, the best selling children book series by Annie Barrows too. Like Ramona, the characters were realistic, the story lines were plausible, kids caused havoc and indiscreetly learned a lesson too.

Description: Bean is constantly told by her mother to play with Ivy, the new neighbor, but Bean thinks she is too boring because she never gets in trouble. It is not until Bean plays a mean trick on her sister and could get in mega trouble that she finds unexpected support from Ivy, who is actually less boring than Bean first suspected.Will Ivy and Bean become friends? Will they escape from the looming punishment they may face from their pranks?

Review: Barrows, who is probably known for her adult best seller book, The Guernsey Literary and Potate Peel Pie Society, hits all the right notes in her debut children series. Ivy + Bean are delightful characters that reminded me of my friends I had as a kid as well as the memories of when my baby brother and I played tricks on one another or co-conspired pranks around the house. Ivy is the least person you would expect to be mischievous because she is always seen with her nose in her book and thus making her your perfect partner in crime. Ivy reminded of me when I was a kid. My brother always complained I was the last person to get in trouble for something we both did. Bean, like my brother, is spunky and full of tricks.
  The tricks that Ivy and Bean play on Bean's sister, Nancy, is funny, harmless, and filled with younger sibling angst. I couldn't help but chuckle on how both girls discover how similar they are and become fast friends and co-conspirators in their great plan. It was so much fun seeing how plans unfold in all the wrong and right ways. Blackall's great illustrations expertly details the girls' actions and expressions are featured throughout the text. Readers who are not old enough to read the words will easily be able to follow the story through the clues provided by the drawings. The chapters are short and the pacing of the story is very fast; perfect for readers who have short attention spans. Ivy and Bean is a sure hit with kids, who like me, wanted books that demonstrated characters and situations that happen in real life. There are currently 7 books in a series, but I'm sure there are many more on the way.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for read-along for beginning readers and readers beyond chapter books.

If you like this book try: Ivy + Bean and the ghost who had to go by Annie Barrows (Book 2) or the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
2 Responses
  1. My middle daughter also loves Ivy and Bean. It's a great series!

    I have other picks in this genre here that I'd like to share with you:
    http://www.pragmaticmom.com/?cat=2946


  2. Thank you! I'll be sure to check for more titles. :)


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