A great brew of friendship and fun – ‘Ivy + Bean’

Ivy+BeanBook1I’m always on the look out for cute chapter books to read with my daughter, especially a series. I mean, what’s the one thing better than finding a fun book?

Finding out it’s only the first of many!

‘Ivy + Bean’ by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, just calls out to be read and enjoyed. Look at the cover! So cute! And the size is nice and wee, making it supremely approachable for kids starting out on chapter books.

I really enjoyed this story of two girls, who know they aren’t going to be friends until the day they each realise the other is more fun than they’d thought. As a mum it made me giggle to see how the more their mums told them to play with each other, the more they didn’t want to.Β 

For junior fiction, I always like to see how long a book is, and how it’s structured…

So, the stats…

  • 113 pages
  • ~ 100 words per page = ~11,000 words
  • Most spreads have at least one illustration
  • 10 chapters
  • Characters are 7 years old

What was great?

This book is centered around friendship and play, and the illustrations are gorgeous. There’s dressing up, face painting, magical intrigue and lots of fun. I like that the things Ivy and Bean get up to aren’t stereotypically girlie. And despite being both quite different poeple, they get along really well.

Kids with older siblings will probably really get into Bean’s plot to annoy her angsty 11-year-old sister. Saying that, it’s not all about being nasty to your siblings, there is a beautiful moment where Bean remembers all the nice things her sister has done for her… before promptly forgetting them again!

If you’re looking to heal familial battle-scars, this book probably isn’t going to get you there. But it will make your kids laugh as Ivy transforms into the perfect witch, and the two friends scale their neighbours’ backyards in their quest to cast a dancing spell on Bean’s sister.

The kids are cute and naughty and realistic. The cheeky writing style is perfect for the story.

And it teaches kids not to judge people from the outside

… and also to throw worms at their sisters…

The verdict?

If thinking about your kids ninja touring through backyards and plotting evil revenge against their siblings has your heart fluttering, look elsewhere.

But if you don’t take life too seriously and you like hearing your kids giggle, this is a book for you.

And of course, if you love it, the fab news is that there are nine others in the series!

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