Ivy + Bean Make the Rules: Ivy & Bean, Book 9

Common Sense Media says

Fun tale of girls creating camp fosters independent play.




ALA Best and Notable Books

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will learn about the rituals and activities offered during summer camp, and learn about a historical figure, British Celtic warrior queen Boudicca.

Positive messages

Ivy + Bean Make the Rules offers strong, positive messages about creativity, autonomous play, innovation, and found objects.

Positive role models

Parents are positive characters but exist only on the periphery. Kids are realistically flawed, portrayed with curiosity and spirit, but with typical limitations such as impulse control, jealousy and sibling rivalry.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the well-regarded Ivy + Bean Make the Rules is the ninth installment in a series of books about the unlikely friendship between two girls who are smart and creative, but often make a little mischief together. Here, they make a pretend summer camp after learning they're too young to attend the same camp as older sister Nancy, and some of the activities (which draw in neighborhood kids) involve playing with sticks, playing in water, and mimicking zombies, all away from parental supervision. No one gets hurt, and the situations are all treated with humor, ultimately encouraging creative, independent play, and innovative thinking. 

What's the story?

Ivy and Bean are bummed to learn they aren't old enough to attend the Girl Power 4-Ever Camp older sister Nancy is attending. They didn't want to go to camp anyway! Or did they? Left to their own devices, the girls decide to spy on Nancy and make their own camp, only bigger, better, and "funner"! But soon they must learn what it takes to make and run a camp, look out for others, and improvise on the spot.

Is it any good?


IVY + BEAN MAKE THE RULES is Book 9 in this imaginative series about girl friendship and creativity. Here, Ivy and Bean may initially be motivated by sour grapes, but in the end, they learn some valuable life skills, namely how to make your own fun. The highly realistic situations and dialogue, paired with evocative black-and-white Chinese ink illustrations, make for a fun, relatable read.

Grade school girls will find Ivy and Bean's adventures relatable and entertaining in an environment that rewards smarts, quick thinking, girl power, and cleverness. Parents who support unstructured play time and want to encourage more independent play have a great sourcebook here for beginning readers. There's some minor concerns about the potential for imitating mischief, but parents can use some of the girls' choices as a great way to discuss those instances in greater depth.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about making your own fun. Have you ever had to come up with your own activities with no help? What did you do? How did it turn out?

  • How does Ivy + Bean Make the Rules compare with other books in the Ivy + Bean series? 

  • Do you know what a rivalry is? Sometimes, rivalries can produce positive results. Can you think of a time when feeling competitive with someone (perhaps a sibling or classmate) helped you work harder and achieve more? What happened?

Book details

Author:Annie Barrows
Illustrator:Sophie Blackall
Genre:For Beginning Readers
Topics:Book characters, Friendship, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Publication date:September 5, 2012
Number of pages:127
Publisher's recommended age(s):6 - 10
Read aloud:6 - 8
Read alone:8 - 10
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

This review of Ivy + Bean Make the Rules: Ivy & Bean, Book 9 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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