A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- 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
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 10
- Number of pages: 127
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: August 22, 2018
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love early reader series and camp adventures
Our editors recommend
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.