Iggy Is Better Than Ever: Iggy, Book 2
By Regan McMahon,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Reckless boy doesn't learn lesson in funny, disastrous tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The story shows consequences of reckless acts, and notes in big type amplify the lessons to be learned, but in a funny, exaggerated way.
Doing bad things doesn't mean you're a bad kid. Accidents happen. "By reading about the the bad things Iggy does, you will learn not to do those things, and that will make you a better person. Isn't that great?"
Positive Role Models
Iggy's teacher is kind to him. His dad is frustrated with him but loves him. The principal is firm but not mean. His best friends Arch and Diego go along with his schemes.
Violence & Scariness
Boys stretch tape across a street to see cars go though it (no damage is done and no one is injured). A boy accidentally knocks a teacher down with a basketball, resulting in bruises on her leg and elbow. A boy wipes out attempting a bike jump off a dirt ramp, smashing his face, getting black eyes, hurting his nose, and getting stitches inside his lip, with blood mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to now that Iggy Is Better Than Ever is the second book in a funny planned trilogy by Annie Barrows (Ivy + Bean) about a fourth-grader named Iggy who keeps getting into trouble. He has just a teensy problem anticipating the consequences of his actions. He does things that strike him as fun, not stopping to think that they could actually hurt someone, including himself. It's all played for laughs, like in the first book, The Best of Iggy, and readers may learn more of a lesson than Iggy does. Sam Ricks' kid-like black-and-white illustrations capture Iggy's emotions and imagination, as when Iggy pictures a scared adult as thinking she's being attacked by aliens or sees his own life flash before him, from cradle to grave. Violence incudes a prank of stretching tape across a street to stop a car (no damage is done and no one is injured); a boy accidentally knocking a teacher down with a basketball, giving her bruises on her leg and elbow; a boy wiping out in a bike stunt, smashing his face, getting black eyes, hurting his nose, and getting stitches inside his lip, with blood mentioned.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
In IGGY IS BETTER THAN EVER, trouble-prone Iggy is hanging out with his friends Arch and Diego at Arch's house and gets an idea to take clear plastic gardening tape from Arch's shed and stretch it across the street "and see what happens when cars drive through it." They do it to 11 cars and think it's so funny seeing the drivers freak out, until the 12th car comes and the driver is their principal, Mr. Wander. The boys run away but return to school the next day terrified they'll get in trouble for their prank, but they don't. Then at the end of lunch recess, Iggy's long shot to the basket accidentally hits a teacher and knocks her down flat. While suspended for that, he rides his bike off on an improvised dirt ramp and ends up bruised, bloodied and getting stitches. Can he learn from all these experiences and become a better person?
Is It Any Good?
This funny story about a fourth-grader who has an easy time thinking up fun things to do but a harder time considering what might happen if he does them is playful and relatable. Part of the fun in Iggy Is Better Than Ever is the unseen narrator's mocking of kids' books where the main character learns a lesson that makes him a better person. "Iggy ... stays pretty much the same all the way through," the narrator says on Page 3. "He learns a few things, but they aren't things that make him better. They are things about gardening supplies." The narrator does want to make sure readers get the lessons, though, so they appear in big type. The narrator suggests "you can show them to your grown-up and say, 'Look! Reading this book is making me a better person!'" One such note instructs:
"You mustn't throw a ball, because you might hit someone!
"And that would be dangerous.
"You should never do anything dangerous.
"Safety is the most important thing in the word!
"So don't throw balls. Don't run. Don't talk with your mouth full.
Promise me you'll never , ever do any of theses things!
"Never, never, never!
"Great! You are so safe now!"
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the situations Iggy gets himself into in Iggy Is Better Than Ever. Do some of his actions seem like honest mistakes? Which ones might he have known would be dangerous if he'd given it some thought?
Do you know anyone like Iggy, who always seems to get into trouble? Why do you think Iggy can't stop himself form doing things that are crazy or reckless?
What do you think of the narrator's funny commentary? What do you think of having the lessons you're supposed to learn in big type? Why do you think the author is playing with the idea that a story's main character is supposed to learn a lesson and become a better person?
- Author: Annie Barrows
- Illustrator: Sam Ricks
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
- Publication date: October 6, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 140
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: May 11, 2021
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