Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Public Library

Ivy + Bean – No News Is Good News by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

Elizabeth, Sophie and I are about to embark on a new adventure – two months of summer vacation together! In recognition of this new three-of-us together model, Elizabeth and Sophie are contributing to this blog post. Each of us is looking forward to our own vision of what this summer will be…

Cathy: getting time to connect with each of my daughters in a way not possible during too short weekends, with (too many!) scheduled activities.

Elizabeth: sleeping in, no dictée and “my birthday is the next one in the family!”

Sophie: spending time with Lizzy, missing my daycare friends and (maybe) cracking the code to learn to ride a two-wheeler by myself!

Thanks to our local book bank, we’ve acquired a few books in a series that is one of our “old” favourites, first discovered through the public library — Ivy + Bean! Author Annie and illustrator Sophie can’t create these stories fast enough, but when Ivy & Bean – No News Is Good News became available this past spring, it encouraged us to re-read some of the previous adventures we had already enjoyed. They were just as fun the second time around! These stories are chapter books with occasional illustrations. Like many good books, you will frequently find yourself looking forward to the next opportunity to read more!

C: Which character do you like best?

E: Ivy

S: Yeah, Ivy

[This surprised to me. Both girls seemed to like the character who they describe as neater and more proper. Maybe because it is frequently Ivy’s imaginative and creative sides that cause the adventures to unfold!]

C: If you were to join in their next adventure what do you think it should be about?

S: Hotdog buns or bananas

E: Tiny, tiny beans or crickets, baby crickets

[This interview took place over breakfast. Sophie’s mind was obviously influenced by other forces!]

If you haven’t yet enjoyed these adventures, the stories are about two 7-year old girls who live on the same street. They are different enough that they never thought they would become friends — but they are! These are hilarious adventures involving dance, babysitters, ghosts, small individual wax-wrapped cheeses, mud volcanos, and more!

We also recently discovered a similar type of book series –  Heidi Heckelbeck has a secret. The author of this series has had four books published so far this year (!). Even though the library only has access to two of the books so far, if you need some additional good reading for this summer, it is worth checking out. Enjoy!


Two great things about fall are the proliferation of new books (just in time for holiday giving) and the number of book awards which ensure our reading lists are overflowing with interesting choices. For adults — the Giller Prize, Toronto Book Awards, and Man Booker Prize provide reading recommendations, and the public library makes it possible to get all these great reads.

For children there are also reading programs that can recommend reading choices that will appeal to your child. Here are some links to some interesting reading programs for children:

I’m also a fan of the Toronto Public Library blog Growing A Reader. When you don’t have the time or the inclination to roam and discover in the library, these kinds of programs are sure to help you find something good.

In the spirit of this fall’s new releases and to give you some of my daughters’ top picks, this week we want to suggest you add the following three titles to your reading list:

My Rhinoceros
Elizabeth was crestfallen with the thought of having to return this one to the public library, so it may be a book we end up adding to our home library. It touches on (truly) exotic pets so it is a good starting point for a discussion of why it is important for animals to live in their natural habitat and/or what kinds of things to keep in mind when getting a pet. It is a lovely, silly story of a young boy and his rhinoceros. Does this rhino pop balloons? Does he poke holes in kites? Has the boy gotten a clunker of a pet? Have a read to find out!

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
This story has a great rythming pace and is an action-packed twist on the classic. I find it lots of fun to read aloud and I bet you will too!

My girls do lots of drawing so they were bound to like this one. It has the same zany appeal shared by our other two recommendations. Young Harvey doesn’t believe the calendar note or his mom’s warning to NOT doodle on this day. So with his imagination on full force he makes doodle after doodle trying to correct the initial problem created when he draws a gigantic fly. Eventually his mom must come to the rescue and a lesson is learned (or is it?) about the dangers that creative people face on… Doodleday!

We can’t wait to discover what other new (and new to us) stories are waiting to be read. Please feel free to share the good new books you have encountered and keep us all reading!