The Best of Iggy: Iggy, Book 1
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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 Best of Iggy is the first book in a planned trilogy by Annie Barrows, author of the popular Ivy + Bean series. The unseen narrator speaks directly to the reader, telling the story of a fun-loving fourth-grader named Iggy who has a habit of getting into trouble, mainly when he doesn't think things through and consider the consequences of risky choices -- like egging another boy on to jump off a roof onto a trampoline. The boy gets "slammed to the ground" but doesn't get hurt. An adult gets mildly injured when Iggy and his friends crash into her with their school desks. Iggy reflects on his choices (after they go haywire), and the narrator explores the nature of getting carried away with an idea that could be reckless or hurtful, doing it anyway, and later regretting it -- and learning from it.
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What's the Story?
THE BEST OF IGGY introduces fourth-grader Iggy Frangi, who doesn't mean to get in trouble but keeps stumbling into it when he gets an idea, doesn't think through the possible consequences, and plunges ahead anyway. The unseen narrator speaks directly to the reader to frame the story and explain Iggy's thinking (or nonthinking) process. Iggy jumps off his roof onto a trampoline and taunts a boy he doesn't like into doing it, too. Angry that his older sister is babysitting him, he makes a mess with shaving cream (for white hair and beard), his mom's lipstick (for blood), and eyeliner (for wrinkles) to scare her as a wounded, bleeding old man. And, finally, he comes up with a prank during class that ends up physically injuring his favorite teacher. Will Iggy learn from his mistakes?
Is It Any Good?
This story of a boy prone to getting in trouble is funny, relatable, and thought-provoking as it explores how things can get out of hand if you don't think about consequences. With a light touch and loads of humor, author Annie Barrows gets into the head of someone who's not a bad kid but veers into some bad actions for typical reasons -- because he's bored or lonely, to look tough to another kid, to annoy his older sister, to feel like a leader in his friend group, and to get a reaction from his teacher. "It was like his brain had gone on vacation," the narrator says in the middle of one of his pranks. The Best of Iggy feels real, and Ram Ricks' fun illustrations do a great job of showing us Iggy's world, his feelings, and his fantasies.
The story also shows Iggy's growth over time. Even if Iggy can't explain why he did something impulsive, he ultimately understands why it was wrong and hurtful, and he sincerely says he's sorry. Which is a great place for kids to see a character get to.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the mistakes Iggy makes in The Best of Iggy. What gets in the way of Iggy just thinking things through before he does something risky or dangerous?
Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something where you or someone else could get hurt? What happened?
What do you think of the narrator talking directly to you, the reader? Does that add another funny layer to the book? Have you read any other books where this happens? Which ones?
- Author: Annie Barrows
- Illustrator: Sam Ricks
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: January 21, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 11, 2021
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