A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
Parents and caregivers: Set limits for violence and more with Plus
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ivy + Bean is a multiple award-winning book about making a new friend, learning about differences, and sharing an adventure. On the surface these girls appear to be very different. One wears dresses and reads books; the other has a sassy mouth and likes to get dirty. Some sibling issues occur, including fights with an older sister, stealing her money, playing tricks on her, and calling her names, such as "tightwad." With its oversize print, frequent black-and-white illustrations, and easy-to-follow plot, this first book in a consistently funny and engaging series is a great starter chapter book for kids just emerging from being early readers. Audiobook version read by Cassandra Morris.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Seven-year-old Bean gets caught playing a trick on her older sister and manages to escape thanks to the help of an unlikely ally: a "quiet" neighbor girl named Ivy. Then Ivy takes Bean to a secret hideout and reveals she's a witch-in-training. When Ivy offers to cast a "dancing spell" on Bean's older sister, Bean is thrilled. As the girls work together on their plan, a friendship is born.
Is it any good?
IVY + BEAN makes the jump to chapter books easier with its large-print, easy-to-follow text, expressive illustrations -- and, most important, two colorful 7-year-old girls. Reminiscent of the classic Beverly Cleary series about Ramona, here's another book series about friendship, silliness, pranks, adventure, getting in trouble, and challenges with siblings that's a sure hit with kids.
So typical of real life, these girls, who are neighbors, are urged by their respective mothers to play together. Ivy appears quiet, dainty, and dutiful, and Bean is wild, dirty, and full of sass. Not until they join forces against Bean's older sister do they discover each other's unique qualities. Ivy is actually studying to become a witch. Bean knows how to move through the neighborhood via backyards. Here's to the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Ivy and Bean had no interest in being friends when they met because each thought the other was too different. What do they discover about each other?
What other books have you read that feature strong girls as main characters?
How are Ivy and Bean more similar in personality than different? Do you have friends who are just like you or different in many ways?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love books about friends and strong girls
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.