When Button was in reception class she was, shall we say, a recalcitrant learner.  She suffers terribly from shiny squirrel syndrome…

a…b….see, there’s a squirrel in the playground

I’ve been fine with that.  She was 4 when she started school and, as she came home to us with significant global developmental delay, I was more than happy to let her set the pace.  Whilst I completely understand why some parents ensure their child starts school with some reading and writing skills, it was not something that concerned me.  I have friends who are teachers and they’ve always assured me that a) my kids were doing just fine thank you (and possibly a little too well on the verbal communication!) and b) it all levels out in the end.

This tactic paid off.  This year, she’s flying.  Reading, writing, maths.  She loves it all. Heavens, she quoted Neil Armstrong to me the other week. And often helps Boy with his letters.

I’m an incredibly proud mum!

With this in mind I’ve been trying very much to engage her in stories that I can read her at bed time, which are age appropriate, but also little more grown up than the books that we’ve always read and which are much loved (Julia Donaldson is, and always will be, a hero in this house.)

Enter my trusty local bookseller, who recommended a series called Ivy + Bean.


One of the big problems of being a kid is that your parents often try to make you play with people you don’t really like…These kids were often weird. I didn’t want to play with them. It was a problem.

But sometimes opposites can become the best of friends because they’re opposites…For Ivy and Bean, their differences mean that they have more fun together than they could ever have separately…The Ivy and Bean books are about the adventures—and disasters—created by this unlikely team.

These delightful chapter books have completely entranced Button.  We read one chapter a night and she begs for more.


Significantly, she retains the story, it’s so engaging.  I sat quietly earlier this week listening to her telling Nana all about how the protagonists tormented Bean’s elder sister with worms and ‘magic’.  Button roared with laughter as she recounted the tale.

I knew we were onto a winner!  In a world where girls are bombarded by Disney princesses (is it wrong that I’m  proud that Button can only name about 2 of them), Ivy + Bean are a charmingly mischievous antidote to saccharine sweetness, lounging around awaiting princely rescue, and princess dresses.

Today I picked up book 2.

book2It’s only been two nights since we finished book 1 and she’s been bereft. So when she discovered the book under her bed this evening she shrieked with joy and danced around the bedroom shouting “book, book, book”.

It’s joyous.  A whole world of knowledge and adventure awaits her, and she’s starting to venture into it.  Ivy + Bean are the new heroes of the hour.  And the reason why we must support our local bookstores.  You just don’t get that kind of service from Amazon!

So, if you’ve not already discovered Ivy + Bean for yourself and the small girl in your life, can I recommend that you do.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.