Miriam's Reviews > Ivy and Bean

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
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May 04, 12

bookshelves: younger, realism
Read in September, 2011

Cute friendship story about two different little girls learning to appreciate each. I would have liked it better if Bean hadn't been such an obnoxious little brat. I liked Ivy but Bean I wanted to slap. I vastly prefer a child protagonist like Ramona who gets in trouble because of misunderstandings or poor judgment (in ways that are totally natural for a kid her age) rather than being deliberately bad. I had a lot more sympathy for Nancy the older sister and the "mean" neighbor than I did for Bean. My siblings and I weren't angels by any means but we were nicer to each other and other children, politer, and better behaved in public than this spoiled little rotter. Crawling under strangers dressing rooms at the store? Climbing fences into other people's property? Stealing money? Digging mud holes in the lawn and tricking people into falling into them? Throwing a frigging bucket of live worms over someone in the house? Any one of these would have gotten us more punishment than Bean gets for all of them together -- which I would guess is the appeal for children, the idea of doing all these mean things and basically getting rewarded in the end (since she makes a friend and gets a laughable token punishment of not watching videos for the week).

And I don't find any of the exploits funny except maybe Ivy pretending to be a witch, and that's been done better in earlier books. At least they only killed some worms and not the frog they wanted to catch!

I wouldn't let my kids read this book, much less play with someone like Bean.
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris Madden Yes, I definitely had issues with the fact that the girls (or, actually, the author) weren't very nice to many of the other characters in the book, even if it was framed as "they had it coming." I really had trouble with the way the author talked about the "weird" kid that ate dirt.
Yes, we love Beverly Cleary and the Ramona books.
We'll keep looking..


Miriam I didn't really see that any of the other characters did anything especially mean to Bean.

Have you read the Betsy-Tacy series? I'm going to try that next.


message 3: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Miriam, I've read about 6 of the approximately 10
Betsy-Tacy books and I think they're wonderful. They definitely are from an earlier time, but overall that's part of their charm. Definitely read them in order! As the girls age, the reading level and target age increases too.


message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Madden No, I don't think I'd heard of the Betsy-Tacy series until this very second, but I just looked at the synopsis, etc. on Amazon and it sounds pretty good so we'll probably check it out. My wife just bought a bunch of books for our daughter, who is just starting kindergarten, and I thought one of them might be Betsy-Tacy, but it's 'Ginger Pye'. Thanks for the tip.


message 5: by Kelly Maybedog (new)

Kelly Maybedog I feel the same way about Junie B Jones and Superfudge particularly when parents tolerate the behavior or they just sigh or give a mild admonition. I hear the Judy Moody books are good about this kind of thing.


Miriam I'm definitely planning on trying Betsy-Tacy!

Superfudge I may have read in elementary; I know we read a few Blumes and it sounds sort of familiar. I never cared for her, I'm afraid.

Wow, was Judy Moody really published in the 1940s?! It looks so 1980s!


Miriam I was on the phone with my mother today and she says she read me the Betsy-Tacy series when I was 3 and 4. Maybe they'll come back to me if I start reading them.


message 8: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Miriam, Wow, that's young. The first and maybe even 2nd through 4th books could work, but not those beyond. I'd probably start the first with with a 5 year old.


Miriam She says she read me My Family and Other Animals then, too, and I thought it was funny. I only remember the Hobbit, that was my favorite.


message 10: by Chris (new)

Chris Madden I think Miriam suggested we try the Betsy-Tacy books a while back. We tried the first one and liked it, but haven't gotten around to the next one yet. Just like to add a couple of recommendations for books for 6-year-old-or-so girls (as we're always on the hunt for them ourselves..)- Understood Betsy, which really snuck up us and which we all really liked (although our daughter will listen to anything, it seems), and Where the Lilies Bloom, which also had us all hooked (although it did contain some somewhat heavy themes).


message 11: by Miriam (last edited May 07, 2012 05:40PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Miriam Oh, Understood Betsy was one of my favorites! I wish she had written more like that.

I hadn't heard of Where the Lilies Bloom before, thanks for the rec.


message 12: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I loved Understood Betsy.


message 13: by Chris (new)

Chris Madden You're welcome. My wife came upon "Where the Lilies Bloom" when she was looking up stories about North Carolina (we're fairly recent transplants). It ended up being pretty engrossing.

My wife is adding recommendations for Birchbark House (?), Thimble Summer, and Ramshackle Roost as I type.

And I loved the Hobbit too. Our sixth grade teacher read it out loud to us.


message 14: by cami (new) - rated it 4 stars

cami I wouldn't call bean a brat, but maybe she should have listened to her mom because I sometimes don't want to play with new people and then I do and I end up loving to play with them!!!!


Alicia G yes yes yes


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