Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ivy and Bean: What's the Big Idea?

Ivy and Bean: What's the Big Idea?

Annie Barrows
Illustrator:  Sophie Blackall 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Chronicle Books, 2010   ISBN: 978-0811866927

One day after rug time, Ivy and Bean’s teacher, Ms. Aruba-Tate, announces that “a team of scientists from the fifth grade” are going to visit their class to give them a talk about global warming. By the time the presentation is over, all the kids in the class are feeling more than a little gloomy. Ivy and Bean are worried about the polar bears whose home is melting. They don’t want the bears to die out “like the dinosaurs.”

The next day Ms. Aruba Tate tells the class that the school is going to have a science fair. The kids are not in the least enthused about this idea, which surprises their teacher; she thought that they all liked science. It turns out that the presentation about global warming has made all the kids hate science. The teacher explains that science is not to blame for global warming. In fact, science is what we need to use to try to solve the crisis. It is “the solution, not the problem.” Ms. Aruba-Tate tells her kids that what is needed are new ideas, and that is something that they can provide. She decides there and then that Ivy and Bean’s class theme for the science fair will be “Ideas that fight global warming.”

Bean thinks that this is a fabulous idea. She is whizz when it comes to coming up with ideas, and surely she will be able to come up with one that will save the planet and perhaps make her the “most famous person in the world” at the same time.

It turns out that good ideas to stop global warming are not easy to come by after all. Ivy and Bean think and think and nothing inspiring pops into their heads. They consider using ice cubes to cool the atmosphere and they even try to do this. Their idea turns out to be an abject failure.  Their optimism wanes and they begin to wonder if they are going to be able to present anything at the science fair.

Bean is, without a doubt, one of the funniest children’s book characters around. She is also delightfully quirky, and in this story we see how creative her ‘outside the box’ personality can be. Young readers are going to love this seventh Ivy and Bean adventure, which explores the idea that everyone can contribute to help solve the world’s problems.