A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Models imaginative free play. Models a parent and a kid reading for pleasure. Shows what yoga poses look like. Shows kids trying to solve their own problems -- often to hilarious effect.
Just because you're an only child, it doesn't mean you're "spoiled." Friends stand up for each other. It takes a lot of patience to care for babies and toddlers.
Positive Role Models
Bean tries to help prove Ivy isn't spoiled, and to make her friend feel better when she's down. Ivy tries to show she's not spoiled by giving away her clothes, toys. Her teacher helps her understand that that's not a good idea. Yet Ivy does give Bean one of her favorite toys out of true friendship. Bean's mom is understanding, tolerant, even when Bean comes up with a crazy idea -- she lets it play out as Bean concludes that her imaginative but flawed scheme won't work.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ivy + Bean One Big Happy Family is the 11th book in Annie Barrows' popular Ivy + Bean series about two very different second-grade girls who are classmates, neighbors, and best friends. In this installment, kids at school call Ivy "spoiled" because she's an only child, so she and Bean think up a crazy scheme to get her "unspoiled" -- including getting her a baby sister. As in other books in the series, the story models and celebrates imaginative free play, supportive parents, and a close, loyal, realistic friendship.
Is It Any Good?
This funny, lighthearted story shows Ivy and Bean supporting each other as they try to prove that Ivy is not "spoiled" just because she's an only child. Rock-solid elements of grade school drama -- a kid making another kid feel bad because she's different in some way -- combine with wacky, inventive, kid-devised schemes to make Ivy + Bean One Big Happy Family a lively, entertaining read with heart.
Like real kids, the two best friends come up with (and abandon) creative ideas and imaginative plans one after the other, and nothing gets too serious. Yet the underlying message is sweet: You don't have to accept some name someone calls you out of ignorance and stereotyping. It's especially nice to see Bean stand up for Ivy and vouch for her good, generous character to the other kids, amid all their harebrained schemes. As always, Sophie Blackwell's abundant illustrations help move the story along with wit and charm.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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