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Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World (Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award (Awards)) Hardcover – August 17, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–As an only child, Ida B has had plenty of time to indulge her creative bent. She makes miniature rafts, to which she attaches notes with questions such as, "What is life like in Canada?" Acres of apple trees are her friends, and she enjoys long conversations with Beulah, Pastel, Henry VIII, and other trees. She lives life to the fullest, firmly believing there is never enough time for fun. When her mother develops cancer, her parents sell part of the orchard and send Ida B to public school rather than homeschooling her. The changes leave her feeling fiercely angry and betrayed. With the help of a wise and caring fourth-grade teacher and the enduring love of Mama and Daddy, the girl slowly begins to heal. Ida B is a true character in every sense of the word. Through a masterful use of voice, Hannigan's first-person narration captures an unforgettable heroine with intelligence, spirit, and a unique imagination. The rural but otherwise undefined setting works well in taking a backseat to the characterization. With just the right amount of tension in the plot, a spot-on grasp of human emotions, and Ida B's delightful turns of phrase, this book begs to be read aloud. Regardless of how tight the budget, don't pass it up.–Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 4-6. Ida B is happy with her life. She talks to the trees in her family's orchard, enjoys being homeschooled, and is trying to be a good steward of the earth. But after her mother gets cancer, part of their land must be sold, and Ida B is forced to start public school, something her parents promised she wouldn't have to do after a bad kindergarten experience. Once her world changes, Ida B changes, too; her sunny disposition turns steely gray. As Ida puts it, she hardens her heart, and the very resilience of her anger is something to behold. First-time novelist Hannigan avoids many of the pitfalls of new writers, bypassing obvious plotting; Ida's mother's cancer, for instance, is a reference point, not a story line. What this really concerns is the fury children can experience, the tenacity with which they can hold on to their anger, and their inability to back away once the emotion no longer serves them. Hannigan gets it down brilliantly. Sometimes Ida's fourth-grade, first-person voice sounds like Junie B. Jones with a linguistic bent gone wild, but it's definitely unique, and Ida's ability to articulate her feelings will warm children, who will understand just what she's talking about. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 970 (What's this?)
  • Series: Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1 edition (August 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060730242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060730246
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have recommended this book to half a dozen elementary school age kids, and all of them have loved it. And in contrast to the views spotlighted above, several of them have also read Kate DiCamillo's "Because of Winn-Dixie" and think that "Ida B." is a much better read, and I agree. This is the rare book that creates a direct connection between the reader and the protagonist's emotions and motivations; the children I know who have read the book all have remarked about how the author allowed them to "get inside" the protagonist's head in ways they hadn't experienced before. Ida B. has all the runaway emotions and issues of self-control that elementary school children struggle with -- anger at her parents for not fulfilling all of their promises, anger at her schoolmates and teachers for not allowing her to fit in, anger at the very environment around her for not staying perpetually the same. She has moments of elation and moments of deep depression. She comes up with creative ways to "punish" her parents for breaking their promises. In other words, she's a real child and not the usual paragon that we typically find in children's fiction. Eventually Ida B. manages to reconcile herself to her surroundings in different ways -- by the end of the book she is able to make peace with herself and those around her in ways that rang true to me and to the children I know who have read the book. Ultimately, the book's message for children is an optimistic one -- don't despair, because no matter how hard things seem, you will find ways of coping, and this too shall pass.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book aloud to my two boys, ages 6 and 9 and it made quite an impression on all of us. Beautifully and skillfully addresses issues of love and fear and loss in a simple and accessible way. Ida B. is a memorable, imperfect little girl, full of spunk and hope, and we often refer to her in our home as if she were a personal friend. I highly recommend this book. We are looking forward to Ms. Hannigan's next novel.
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A Kid's Review on January 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have loved many books...but this one beats them all. I am in 4th grade and I read a lot. As soon as I picked up this book, I couldn't put it down. I like Ida because she was creative and things happen to her that kids or people can relate to. Sometimes, I refer to it as an apple book because of all the orchards. In the future, I would definately love to read more books by this author. If you like books like Molly Moon, Chasing Vermeer, Series of Unfortunate Events or Harry Potter, you will love this book too.
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Format: Paperback
This fun novel is made up of glorious similes, metaphors, and intense descriptions. Ida B is a strong character that comes to life. You can really relate to her feelings. She is unpredictable and makes you want to keep reading to see what she will do next. Ida B is a moving story with a great theme and message about nature. Dealing with a loved one who is diagnosed with cancer is another inspirational theme woven into the plot. After I finished reading, I had to stop a moment to take in everything I had read. It truly made me think, and I believe it will have the same effect on anyone who reads this book. I confidently recommend Ida B.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fourth grade teacher, I can relate to Ida B Applewood since she is a fourth grader herself, but I cannot say that I have ever met a student quite like her! Aside from her lifelike relationships with the apple trees on her family's orchard and her talent for thinking critically, Ida B is definitely a girl with a plan. Ida B professes that, "I believe good plans are the best way to maximize fun, avoid disaster, and, possibly, save the world." However, Ida B brings life that goes from planned to unplanned to reality for readers.

Ida B is a story that will personally allow you to get to know the main character, Ida B, who experiences what it is like when plans fall apart. As a reader, my heart went out to Ida B whose life underwent some serious changes that not all fourth graders or even some adults ever have to endure. Throughout the book, I thought that Ida B excellently exhibited a strong searching within herself for the coping skills she thought she needed to deal with life's changes. As an adult reader and a teacher, this book provided me with real insight to what life could actually be like for a child experiencing such changes as Ida B. Hannigan brilliantly lets us into Ida B's head through the reasoning and planning this wonderful character is constantly doing. Although this read can become deeply emotional and make you want to scream through the pages, "Everything will be alright, Ida B!", it promotes an overwhelming feeling that no matter how unplanned life may seem, there really is a plan! Ida B goes on my list of all time favorites without a doubt!
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A Kid's Review on December 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
O' there is never enough time for fun! This is what Ida B thinks. Her friends are the apple trees in the orchard and her family are always by her side! She thought nothing could ever go wrong in her life! Until her mom gets canser. Her mom is very weak and cannot homeschool her any more so they send her to a Public School. She hates the public schools. She gets a new heart. A cold hard heart. She doesn't talk to her mom or dad anymore. She doesn't want to make friends at her new school, and does nothing during recess. She has an inspiring 3 grade teacher who helps her pick away at the hard heart and allows the fresh kind heart come through. Read the book to find out what happens! I loved this book! It was awesome and inspiring! Hannigan does a great job showing characterization. She tells you how Ida B feels and what she thinks perfectly. Characterization is what a character is like and what her or she does to show personality. For a moment I felt that I was Ida B! I recommend this book to people who care for realistic fiction books and books that make you feel good inside! This is an awesome book!
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