Ivy and Bean, Book 11: One Big Happy Family

Ivy and Bean, Book 11:  One Big Happy Family

Annie Barrows' bestselling chapter book series, Ivy & Bean, is a classroom favorite and has been keeping kids laughing–—and reading—for more than a decade! With more than 5 million copies in print, Ivy & Bean return with a brand-new book for a new generation!

Ivy & Bean are back . . . and they are funnier than ever!

Ivy's worried. She's read a lot of books about only children, so she knows that they are sometimes spoiled rotten. They don't share their toys. They never do any work. They scream and cry when they don't get their way. Spoiler alert! Ivy doesn't have any brothers or sisters. That's why she's worried. How can she keep from getting spoiled? She could give away all her clothes, but she'd probably get in trouble. She could give away all her toys, but she likes her toys. There's really only one solution: she needs a baby sister, on the double! Luckily, Ivy and Bean know just where to get one.--from the publisher

124 pages                  978-1452164007                  Ages 6-9

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Ivy is told by classmate Vanessa that only children are spoiled, and takes it to heart. She doesn't want to be spoiled, so she takes steps so that she isn't. First, she has the great idea to give away her clothes and favorite headbands to her classmates, but her teacher, Ms. Aruba-Tate is NOT pleased with that idea and makes her take everything back. The girls try to bring Ivy's doll Zellaphine to life ala Frankenstein's monster by attaching her to eletricity, and when that doesn't work, they go to a park near their home to pray to the gods to deliver a baby brother or sister to Ivy. Their prayers are answered, although not in the way they imagined. Jean and Jean's baby, Kalia, is a good stand in for a while, and even though Ivy is covered in sticky baby goo, she doesn't feel less spoiled. She tries several other ways to prove to Vanessa that just because she is an only child, she doesn't have to be spoiled, and eventually gets her classmate to see her way.

Strengths:These books are a fun size, with a good mix of pictures and text, and bright and attractive covers. Series are great for emergent readers because they can finish the books fairly quickly and know exactly what to read next. Sibling relationships are important at any age, and there aren't many books that talk about being an only child, so this is a nice change. I would definitely purchase this for early elementary school readers.

Weaknesses: Bean is a sort of Junie B. Jones character-- not necessarily very pleasant. But then, I am an OLDER sister!

What I really think: I have some of these books for my struggling readers (we have a "quick picks" shelf that I recommend to many different students), but this particular volume would do better in elementary school. Middle school students are not too concerned about being spoiled; being popular, not fighting with friends, and potential romances are a little more the speed even for 6th graders

Reviewed by: Karen Yingling, Library Media Specialist, Ohio USA See more of her reviews: msyinglingreads.blogspot.com

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