Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Girls' New Favorite Book: Ivy & Bean by Annie Burrows; Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Written by Annie Barrows
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ages 6 and up
(Published in 2006 by Chronicle Books)

I bought this book a few weeks ago, not knowing anything about it, but as I skimmed through it at the store, it looked like one both my girls could and would want to read because:

1. The two little female protagonists are seven years old.
2. It is a book about best friends.
3. It has a young reader-friendly print size.
4. It is liberally peppered with pictures.

I was sure it had "hit" potential with my girls. They ignored it.
Then, when we were at the library the other day, I saw the audiobook version and borrowed it, hoping it would jump start their interest. And boy, did it! They have giggled over the audiobook all week (whose reader, Cassandra Morris, does a superb job, by the way), and now Karina is half-way through the book, with Olivia chomping at her heels to be finished so she can read it.

The synopsis:
Bean's mother keeps wanting Bean to make friends with Ivy, the new girl her age in the cul-de-sac. But Bean thinks she looks boring. One day, in hiding from her older sister Nancy after playing a practical joke on her, Bean finds an unexpected ally in Ivy. And a friendship blossoms as they discover their similarities and differences, and together conspire to take revenge on Nancy for her big sister meannesses.

The book is a quick read, for you moms (and dads) who like to pre-read books before handing them to your kids. It's a fairly quick read for kids too, which is appealing to young readers. And while, as a mom, I hope it doesn't give my girls any ideas about ill-treating each other (as if they didn't get plenty of ideas themselves!), the kid in me giggled along with the adventures of these two quirky, funny, vibrant, REAL girls. We look forward to more Ivy and Bean adventures.

Also go visit Chronicle's Ivy + Bean Website for the Ivy + Bean Fan Club and some great teacher and librarian resources, such as book-inspired worksheets and fun games you can play.


  1. A lot of my students are into Ivy and Bean as well, but I haven't read the series yet- it's about time I do!

    I love that the audio book hooked your girls! Neat!

  2. Rebecca, thanks for stopping by and commenting! We love audio books around our house. And probably because I've read aloud to them all their lives, it seems natural to them to listen to audiobooks, too.

  3. I'm reading the new Penderwicks book now, and I think IVy + Bean gets a mention in it. How about that! I think this is one my girls would love. Thanks for reviewing it; I really didn't know anything about the series before now. As always, I'm so glad you linked up to RAT this week!

  4. Amy, just be aware that there is some name calling and "sass", and some kid sneakiness. I think the writing style helps make it sound not quite so serious, but I have some conservative Christian friends who won't let their kids read the books because of those factors, which I very much understand. I'd encourage a pre-read, which would be quick because it's a really short book, by adult standards.

  5. My girls have read many of the books in the Ivy + Bean series and have really liked them!
    We love audio books here too :)

  6. It's too bad we don't live closer to each other: our girls would probably get on well together.