My first grader loves the Ivy and Bean series of books, especially the central characters, Bean and her best friend Ivy. The girls are precocious, intelligent, and always up to some adventure (or misadventure, depending on how one looks at it!). These traits appeal to my daughter as she is quite the adventurer herself, and the chapters are relatively short, which makes it easy for her to read independently. The books average about 120 pages, and she manages to read up to 40 pages per sitting (around 45 minutes).
What I found to be fascinating was that the plot for each story is so well-written and developed that my daughter could not stop once she started reading! I usually sit with her and supervise her reading, helping out with some difficult words, and she gets so involved with the story that she just keeps on reading. This to me is the mark of a good book, one that entices a young reader to keep reading. The language is not overly simplified, on the contrary, there are some challenging words which I help my daughter with (pronunciation and definition, if necessary).
The black and white illustrations by Sophie Blacksall that appear in each chapter add to the appeal of these books. In this latest installment, Ivy and Bean are envious of their classmates who all appear to have the coveted ball of cheese in the red wax packaging. The children use the piece of wax to make all sorts of things like 'boogers',mustaches, etc. When Bean's mom refuses to buy the cheese because it is too expensive, the girls devise a scheme to earn money on their own so that they can buy the cheese themselves. Their half-baked schemes are so creative and funny that I could not help laughing as my daughter read the story out loud night after night. What will the girls think of next and will it work? This is another winner in the Ivy and Bean series.