Ivy & Bean by Annie Barrows
Unsurprisingly, Ivy & Bean is super cute. There’s a reason the series is so terribly popular. Bean’s mother keeps urging bean to play with her neighbor Ivy, but Bean is not interested. Mischievous Bean is not impressed that Ivy is always reading and wearing dresses (both clearly unforgivable sins). They come together unexpectedly, when Ivy witnesses Bean getting in trouble with her big sister and offers her a place to hide. United, the two girls plot and plan and engage in some sorcery to get back at Bean’s sister Nancy. Clearly, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Bean is a bit reminiscent of Ramona Quimby, but with a partner in crime. It will be a nice stepping stone to the Ramona books which are much harder. Matching her with the more subdued yet clever Ivy makes the story more accessible to readers who might not fully appreciate Bean’s rough and tumble ways.
Age Recommendation: Grades 1-4. This is a Level M, so on level for third grade readers. The content will definitely be of interest to younger readers and is appropriate for them, so it would work for a read aloud, or for advanced readers in lower grades. It feels a bit young for fourth graders to me, but I have known many third graders (even towards the end of the year) who adored the set.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – “booger-head”, “burp face”, a teenager listens to music with “lots of bad words”.
Death, Violence and Gore – Little kids fall down, bleed, need band-aids.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – Bean impersonates a ghost. A worm falls in Bean’s sister’s mouth.