Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 2007 by Chronicle Books, 120 pages.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
I had heard so much about these books from kids. Last year, my son read all that he could get his hands on. My son's friends talk about them because their teacher is reading them to the class. They all say how much they love these books, how funny they are, how much they love when the teacher reads them. We were at the book store and my son wanted me to buy him one, so I did. When his older brother said: What do you want that for? It's a girls' book. My younger son turned around and said: No, it's not. It's a good book.
Now, my younger daughter asked me to read this one to her. She loves it. She begs me for "just one more chapter" and wants to read all of them. And, I have to admit, after years of reading books to my kids, I've found Ivy and Bean to be among the best of the early chapter books, and I can see the appeal for both boys and girls.
Ivy and Bean don't think that they will ever be friends because they are so different, but when they get together for a common cause, they find that friendship is about more than being the same as someone else and you never know what will happen when you give people a chance.
The book is also filled with humour and imagination. Ivy and Bean quickly create their own world, something which kids naturally do. The kids are also silly, get in trouble, get dirty... They do all of the things kids do.
The illustrations really add to the book. There are pictures every few pages, simple drawings, but they also add to the tone of the story and make the book accessible as an early chapter book for kids.
Even though this book is about two girls, I can see the appeal for boys too. It is simply a good book, as my wise son said.