Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Ida B

Hannigan, Katherine. 2004. IDA B. New York: Greenwillow. ISBN 0060730250 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]


Katherine Hannigan has written a delightful book for upper elementary aged children. IDA B. is one of those enjoyable books that will make its audience laugh and cry in the same sentence. Ida B, not to be confused with her mother named Ida, is a charming fourth grader who is being sent to school after being home schooled on her apple farm most of her life. Ida B has a vivid imagination. She even refers to one of the meaner trees on her farm as a punk! She also has a deep love and understanding of nature. She considers her animals and trees members of the family. Her sensitivity is tested though, when she must not only return to public school, but also learn to deal with changes that are happening in her home. With the help of the true love of the people around her, Ida B learns to trust again.

Hannigan’s straightforward language does not undermine her audience’s intelligence. She allows her protagonist to have real and sometimes hurtful feelings, “Apologizing,” Ida B proclaims, “is like spring cleaning. First of all, you don’t want to do it. But there’s something inside you, or somebody outside you who’s standing there with her hands on her hips saying, ‘it’s time to make things right around here,’ and there’s no getting out of it.” Hannigan gives readers a fresh and realistic look at childhood. She gives her characters grace and dignity and creates an excellent role model in Ida B.

Ida B has an extraordinary imagination. Ask children to be amateur inventors. Have children think of a problem that could be solved with an invention, such as Ida B’s need to wash her face less, thus producing The Mask.

Ida B finds comfort in reading out loud to others in her class. Let children pick a book and ask volunteers to read aloud to each other.

Other stories about imagination and perseverance:
Ryan, Pam Munoz. BECOMING NAOMI LEON. ISBN 0439269695
L’Engle, Madeleine. A WRINKLE IN TIME. ISBN 0374386137
Levine, Gail Carson. ELLA ENCHANTED. ISBN 0060275111
By Lisa Erickson

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