Reading guide for Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Ida B

and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2004, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

About the Book


Ida B savors life and creates her own pleasure -- playing in the brook, climbing trees, planning her days and nights, inventing time-saving devices, and walking her floppy eared dog Rufus, who slobbers to high heaven. What she doesn't understand is why her mama develops cancer, or why her daddy reluctantly decides to sell some of their land, or why she has to go to public school instead of being home-schooled. Ida B doesn't like the changes, and before she is finally able to accept what she can't change, she has to learn some of life's most difficult lessons.


Discussion Questions
  1. On two occasions Ida B says to her daddy, "I think the earth takes care of us" (pages 32, 244). What does Ida B mean by this statement?

  2. One of Ida B's beliefs is that "good plans are the best way to maximize fun, avoid disaster, and possibly, save the world" (page 38). What situations in the book illustrate that she acts on this belief? Does her planning achieve the goals she expects? Why or why not?

  3. After attending public school kindergarten for one day, Ida B tells her mama that kindergarten has "Too many rules and not enough time for fun" (page 50). And she describes school as "that particular Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture" (page 58). How does Ida B's attitude toward school make it difficult for her to be herself when she goes back to public school four years later?

  4. Ida B is convinced that the trees, the brook, and the stars listen to her and respond to her questions—and even call to her when she doesn't visit them. How does her belief about nature affect her actions? How does it sustain her during difficult times?

  5. When Ida B's mama develops cancer, trouble and sadness infect Ida B's house and life. How do those changes affect Ida B? What does she do to adjust to the changes?

  6. When Ida B's daddy sells off part of their land and forces her to go back to public school, Ida B quits talking to her parents and shuts herself up. Why does she respond with such uncharacteristic hostility? Is she justified in her actions?

  7. Growing frustrated with her attitude, Ida B's daddy yells at her several times, which is out of character for him. Why does he react this way? Is he justified?

  8. Accepting the fact that she must obey her father, Ida B makes a vow to herself and (secretly) to him. She thinks, "All right, Daddy . . . I'll do what you say. I'll go back to Ernest B. Lawson Elementary School. But I won't like it. I won't like the people who buy the land, and I won't like my teacher, or the kids in my class, or the ride on the bus. And I won't like you or Mama, either" (page 88). Does Ida B keep her vow? Who is hurt most by this vow? Why?

  9. Ida B's teacher, Ms. Washington, wisely doesn't push Ida B to make friends or join the games at recess. How does she finally break through to Ida B's cold heart?

  10. Ida B helps Ronnie learn his multiplication tables and they "sort of" become friends, even though she won't talk to him in public if they aren't working on math. Does her relationship with Ronnie help open the door to other friendships?

  11. Ida B is relentless in her determination to run the new people off her land. What does she try to do to scare them off? Is she successful? Why or why not?

  12. What specific event shows Ida B that she needs to make a change in her attitude and behavior? Are her "how to" plans successful? Why or why not?

  13. What do you think Ida B means when she says "Apologizing is like spring-cleaning" (page 222)?

  14. After Ida B makes her rounds and apologizes to all those she had hurt by being mean, her attitude changes. Do Ida B's actions change as a result of her softer heart?

  15. Ida B finally understands that the "land and the mountain and the trees and the stars . . . weren't mine at all, and never would be. But in some ways they'd always belong to me, and I couldn't imagine not belonging to them" (page 245). How would you explain what Ida B means by that?


Page numbers refer to the hardcover edition and may different in the paperback version.

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of HarperTrophy. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!