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Annie Barrows has written many books for adults, but Ivy and Bean is her first series for kids. She lives in northern California with her husband and two daughters. Sophie Blackall is an Australian illustrator whose previous books include Ruby's Wish and Meet Wild Boars. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Best friends Ivy and Bean return for a very welcome third outing. When Bean's desperate boredom forces her to the pages of The Amazing Book of World Records, she determines to break one herself, no matter what. But after her attempt to stuff 257 straws in her mouth falls short by some 217 straws, and her loudest scream fails to shatter her sister's glass octopus, she combines her newfound interest in one-of-a-kind stunts with Ivy's fascination with paleontology to purse dreams of fame in her backyard. Barrows balances the two girls' personalities perfectly, Ivy's quiet studiousness the steady counterpoint to Bean's restless ebullience. The odd happy piece of information "It took [Mary Anning] a whole year to get the whole [ichthyosaur] out. . . . Chip, chip, chip, a tiny bit at a time" is conveyed effortlessly without impinging on the terrifically childlike voice "Lookit! I got one." Blackall's black-and-white spot illustrations share equal billing with the text, punctuating the written narrative with wry, spiky visuals that capture the kids' personalities beautifully. The resolution deflates Ivy and Bean's ambitions but leaves both dignity and enthusiasm intact other record attempts can wait till tomorrow. Just right. -Kirkus Reviews When Bean's teacher introduces The Amazing Book of World Records, everyone in the second grade vows to set new records. Bean tries stuffing her mouth full of straws, speed washing dishes, and screaming (with predictably disastrous results); finally, Ivy involves her friend in digging for dinosaur bones so they can become the world's youngest paleontologists. Barrows' dynamic duo is as appealing here as in the first two books, and emergent readers willidentify with their outrageous antics. Also intriguing are Bean's sister, Nancy (who never misses an opportunity to put down her sibling), and her ever-supportive dad, whose banana bread fixes almost any problem. -Booklist Rambunctious second-grader Bean and her more conservative friend, Ivy, are back for another easy-chapter-book adventure. This time, a book of world records gets the class thinking of feats they can accomplish. Bean unsuccessfully (and hilariously) tries to break some records, then decides to be the youngest person to discover dinosaur bones and starts digging in the backyard. Ivy has read a book about Mary Anning, who found a dinosaur skeleton at the age of 12. Anning is held up as a model of patience and perseverance, two qualities from which Bean would benefit. Her father is home during the day, and readers see their wonderful, positive relationship. He supports their efforts and agrees that the bones they ve discovered are mysterious. It's not a terribly original story idea, but Barrows has a fine touch. Blackall's humorous drawings add to the fun. This is a great chapter book for students who have recently crossed the independent reader bridge. -School Library Journal