Ivy and Bean, by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn't be friends. But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, Nancy, and has to hide quickly, Ivy comes to the rescue, proving that sometimes the best of friends are people never meant to like each other. Vibrant characters and lots of humor make this a charming and addictive introduction to Ivy and Bean.
Grade Level: 1 and up
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books; Reprint edition (May 3, 2007)
Ivy and Bean was a surprise for me, and for my daughter. We both expected something fluffy and kind of cutesy. After chapter 1, I had to talk my daughter into reading more of it. After chapter 2, she asked for more. We didn't stop reading until we finished the entire book.
So why is it surprising? Because instead of finding a bubblegum novel about two little girls becoming friends, you'll discover an adventure in which two girls meet, find common ground, and pull off the best spell ever (Ivy is training to become a witch). Both girls discover that people are not always what they appear to be, and that a good friend is always willing to get into trouble with you.
I am giving this book a solid four stars. The reason I am not awarding it the final star is because of some name calling and an instance where Bean steals money from her sister.
For a contemporary, beginner's chapter book, I was thoroughly impressed. I will be looking for the next Ivy and Bean book in the series.