Author(s): Annie Barrows
Vibrant characters and lots of humor make this a charming introduction to Ivy and Bean, two best friends who thought they'd never like each other.
Barrow's debut children's book energetically kicks off a series about two seemingly unlikely pals, just right for kids moving on from beginning readers. Bean's mother suggests that she play with Ivy, the new girl across the street, "She seems like such a nice girl." Seven-year-old Bean says she already has plenty of friends ("Nice, Bean knew, is another word for boring"). After all, Ivy's long, curly red hair is neatly pushed back with a sparkly headband, and she always wears dresses and reads books; headband-, dress- and book-shunning tomboy Bean muses that Ivy "had never once in her whole life climbed a tree and fallen out." But when Ivy offers to get Bean out of a jam with her older sister, Nancy, Bean takes Ivy up on it. Bean discovers that the not-so-boring, wand-toting Ivy is in training to become a witch, and working on a spell that keeps its victim dancing for life--which sets Bean thinking about the ideal fate for bossy Nancy. Blackall's (Ruby's Wish) half-tone spot art and full-spread illustrations deftly capture the girls' personalities and the tale's humor, while also filling out fun details about Ivy's room and the neighbors' backyards. Barrows's narrative brims with sprightly dialogue and tidily ties everything together both Bean and Ivy find a fast friend and set the stage for "Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go," scheduled for the fall. -"Publishers Weekly," starred review
In the tradition of Betsy and Tacy, Ginnie and Geneva comes two new friends, Ivy and Bean. Ivy has just moved in across the street from Bean, who wants no part of her. She looks dull, always with a book in her hand. Bean, on the other hand, is a sparkplug, full of tricks, especially when theycan be pulled on her older sister Nancy. But the day Bean pulls a trick that goes wrong, and Ivy comes to her rescue, a friendship is born. The deliciousness is in the details here, with both girls drawn distinctly and with flair. Ivy, who at first seems a dud has aspirations to be a witch and put charms on people, which is dangerously intriguing to Bean's spunky way of talking and acting (there's a classic moment when she wiggles her fanny at Nancy) and will make readers giggle. Even with all the text's strong points, what takes the book to a higher level is Blackall's artwork, which captures the girls' spirit. A chapter from the second book in the series, to be published in Fall of 2006 will whet readers' appetites for more Ivy and Bean. -"Booklist," starred review