Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, paperback chapter book, 113 pages, published by Scholastic in 2007.
Bean is a mischievous seven year old with a love of annoying her older sister, Nancy. She’s a bit of a tomboy, who loves playing outside and getting dirty. Ivy lives in a house across the road from Bean, and is quite prim in comparison, favouring quiet reading and wearing pretty dresses. They couldn’t be more dissimilar, but when Bean finds herself in a bind, Ivy offers to help, and they discover that they have more in common than they initially thought.
This is the first book in the Ivy + Bean series, and the only one we’ve read so far. It contained easy to read language and text with a simple format, black and white illustrations and reasonably short chapters.
Ivy + Bean is most suitable for lower primary school children, who are gaining confidence in their reading. I read this book to my kindergartener, she loved it and has asked for more Ivy + Bean adventures. We read it in just a couple of sessions, as she wanted to “read just one more chapter, mum, pleeeeeease”. My third grader also read this book, and while she found it extremely easy as a text, she quite enjoyed the story. Ivy and Bean make an odd couple, but they are good characters, making us laugh, and sometimes groan, and who will encourage kids to read about their adventures.