MAY 7:

  • Happy birthday Nonny Hogrogian (Always Room for One More, One Fine Day), Peter Carey (The Big Bazoohley), Erik Craddock (Stone Rabbit series).
  • It’s the birth date of Robert Browning (1812-1889), The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and Angela Carter (1940-1992), Sea-Cat and Dragon King.
  • In 1429, Joan of Arc ends the Siege of OrlĂ©ans. Read Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley, and Joan of Arc: The Teenager Who Saved Her Nation by Philip Wilkinson.
  • It’s Join Hands Day, a good time to do community service. Read Join Hands: The Ways We Celebrate Life by Pat Mora, photographs by George Ancona.

Today we celebrate National Babysitter’s Day. Almost every child has had the experience being taken care of by a babysitter—many later even become one themselves—and that story has been played out again and again in children’s books.

The protagonists of today’s book, two irrepressible seven-year-old girls, encounter that situation in Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter. BFFs Bean and Ivy can get into more mischief while egging each other on than the proverbial barrel of monkeys. At the beginning of the story, they and their friends have taken over a pile of dirt and fashioned a volcano with a lava flow from a hose. Nothing is ever boring for this twosome because they possess so much imagination.

Then a potential tragedy strikes. Bean’s parents are going out for a few hours. Horror of all horrors, they have decided to leave Bean’s mean older sister, Nancy, age eleven, in charge. She even gets twenty dollars—and will keep Bean in the house, or in jail, depending on the perspective. Bean believes she has been left with the meanest babysitter in history and that action needs to be taken. By the time that her parents come back, Bean and Ivy have managed to secure some of Nancy’s money and have definitely convinced this older sister that she is much too young to be a babysitter. Just your average exploit in the lives of two very devoted, very resourceful seven-year-olds.

Author Annie Barrows hits one comic high note after another in the book and has made her series about these two girls a favorite of seven- to nine-year-olds. Because illustrator Sophie Blackall provides so much lively art, rendered in Chinese ink, the text breezes by. Chapter books that are perfect for kids who are starting to read on their own are extremely difficult to create. Authors need to know how to make the everyday lives of young children sound exciting. In Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter, the common experience of having a babysitter is transformed into laugh-out-loud comedy.

Here’s a section from Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter:


Then Sophie turned to Bean. “What should we play?”

“Play?” said Bean. “We haven’t got time to play! This volcano’s about to blow!” 




Originally posted May 7, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Family, Humor, Imagination
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter


  1. Jory Hearst says:

    This series does friendship and humor well simultaneously, and I think Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are perfect. We get tons of requests at Porter Sq. Books for sequels to Ivy & Bean once readers have been introduced!

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