Ivy and Bean series, by Annie Barrows

I almost forgot these two little cuties!  These books are geared toward younger readers at the third grade level.  Even though I teach sixth grade, I always end up with a few students who are behind in reading.  I want to make sure everyone has access to reading material in our class library, so when I saw Ivy and Bean being recommended in various places online, I knew I needed to check them out for some of my kiddos.  I went right out and bought the first two books and delivered them directly to one of my students.  She read them both and then headed to our school library to look for more!

The story is told from Bean’s point of view.  She’s a tomboyish girl who likes a little adventure, getting dirty, and pestering her older sister, Nancy.  Ivy has just moved in across the street, but Bean is not interested in getting to know her.  Ivy has curly hair and is more of a girly-girl, and Bean is not convinced they would even get along at all.  Besides, Bean’s mother keeps suggesting that she go meet Ivy, but Bean is a little on the stubborn side anyway (as you might have guessed.)  However, one day when Bean needs to escape after playing a prank on Nancy, Ivy turns out to be a valuable friend. As luck would have it, she’s up for a little mischief as well!

So far there are 9 Ivy and Bean books in the series.  I haven’t read them all, but I really like that they are beginning chapter books that don’t talk down to kids.  They remind me of Ramona Quimby (Beverly Clearly) books because they relay a realistic kid’s point of view, but without the baby talk of Junie B. Jones (which I enjoy and DO think are quite funny, but I feel that a reader has to be able to recognize the word play that makes them funny in the first place.  Older readers are better able to understand Junie B’s mistakes.)  They are a nice transition or bridge into longer chapter books, and hooking up a new reader with a good series can keep them on track and reading constantly because the next book is already waiting for them!

The Ivy and Bean books range in the AR level 3s and are worth about 1 point each.


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