Marshmallow has enjoyed reading the Ivy + Bean series written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall for a few years now. Below she shares some thoughts on the ninth book and her favorite in the series: Ivy and Bean Make the Rules. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking some followup questions.
Sprinkles: You wanted to talk about Ivy and Bean today, right, Marshmallow?
S: So what do you want to tell us about these books?
M: I like reading these books. I also like the fact that Ivy and Bean actually think like kids, and Bean has reactions that I can relate to. Some books are about kids but the characters in them do not always behave or think like kids. Bean and Ivy are a lot more real, a lot more like kids.
S: So then tell us a bit about Ivy and Bean. Who are they?
M: Bean is a girl who has an annoying older sister.
S: So kind of like Ramona the Pest, no?
M: No, not quite. Ramona’s sister is annoying in a different way. But honestly, I have no experience about having an annoying big sister. Anyways, Bean is a little wild, she is sometimes herself annoying.
S: And what about Ivy?
M: Ivy is an only child, and she is a bit calmer, and she is smarter. She also wants to be a witch when she grows up.
S: That sounds like a good match. So how old are they?
M: They’re about seven years old.
S: So do you think this book series would be a good fit for new readers of age 5-7?
S: And you are still reading them too. What can big kids get out of these books?
M: The books are really funny, and they make me laugh.
S: Even though you have read them several times before. I read them too and I remember them as being really funny. The girls sometimes come up with ridiculous ideas. So tell us about what happens in the ninth book of the series, Ivy and Bean Make the Rules?
M: It’s about how Bean’s sister Nancy is going to this camp called Girl Power 4Ever, and Bean wants to go but she doesn’t want Nancy to know. And she can’t go anyways, you have to be 11 to go. Then she decides to build a tree house. She can’t though, because she doesn’t have nails. And then she uses duct tape.
S: That sounds hilarious. So when does Ivy come into the picture?
M: She sneaks up on Bean as Bean is working on her tree house. Then Bean decides her tree house is stupid and wants to do nature study and crafts. Ivy says we can make our own camp, and so they do.
S: Ok, so they decide to start their own camp. How does that go?
M: They go spy on Nancy’s camp to get some ideas, and they find some kids, and they start doing some crafts and some more absurd stuff. They also set some silly rules.
S: What kinds of rules?
M: Let me find some for you from the book:
“Rule number one!” said Bean. “You can only have as much fun as you are willing to get hurt!”
“Rule two!” said Ivy. “Live and learn!” Her mother said that a lot.
“Rule three!” yelled Bean. “The counselor is always right!”
S: None of this sounds like a very good idea.
M: There are even more, look:
Ivy began to giggle. “Rule four! If you want to make an omelet, you’re going to have to break some eggs.”
“If you can’t beat’em, join’em!” bellowed Bean.
“Don’t get mad, get even!” yelled Ivy.
“I don’t think this is a real camp,” said Frannie.
S: These sound quite random and not terribly safe.
M: They are not great rules to follow, like the fifth rule is not quite a good idea: “Don’t get mad, get even.”
S: Well, Caramel reviewed a book about training an angry dragon, so maybe they should have read that book! Getting mad is not very helpful is it? Ok, what else do you want to say about this book? Why did you choose this one to talk about?
M: This is the funniest one of the ten. I like reading out some parts, they are so funny.
S: This is the ninth book, though. Do you think someone could jump in and read this one before reading the previous eight books?
M: Sure, they can still enjoy it, but it might be better if they start from the beginning. If you do that, you know the past stories about how successful Ivy has been in becoming a witch for instance.
S: And that kind of knowledge about the characters’ back stories enriches the experience of reading this book, I agree. And it is about time to wrap up this review. Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
M: Yes! Stay tuned for more Book Bunnies reviews.