Summary and book reviews of Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B

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

by Katherine Hannigan

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

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About this Book

Book Summary

'This insightful, seemingly intuitive first novel digs deep inside the soul of 9-year-old narrator Ida B Applewood....Hannigan shows a remarkable understanding of a stubborn child's perspective in her honest, poignant portrayal of loss and rebirth. Ages 9-up.'

What do you do when your life goes from righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong?

  • Try to scare away the new neighbors with signs and posters that warn things like "Typhoons Known to Occur Here -- Water Rats Abound."

  • Avoid eye contact and word contact, with Mama and Daddy in particular.

  • Stay away from the orchard and the brook and the old tree and anything else that reminds you of how good things used to be.
  • Put together the best plan you've ever created to get things back to just-about-perfect again.

Chapter 1

"Ida B," Mama said to me on one of those days that start right and just keep heading toward perfect until you go to sleep, "when you're done with the dishes, you can go play. Daddy and I are going to be working till dinner."

"Yes, ma'am," I said back, but I said it like this, "Yes, may-uhm!" because I couldn't wait to get on with my business. I could already hear the brook calling to me through the back door screen. "C'mon out and play, Ida B. Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up." I had three places I wanted to visit, six things I wanted to make, and two conversations I hoped to have before dinnertime.

Mama was washing, Daddy was drying, and I was putting away the dishes from lunch. And I knew that the moment I set the last pan in its place, I was free. But the way those two were chatting and laughing and acting like we had till next week to finish up, I could see it was going to be a while.

My insides started itching and my feet started ...

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...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The story did not resonate with the adults or children (aged 10 & 12) in our family.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (432 words).

Media Reviews

Booklist - Illene Cooper

Starred Review. 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.  Gr. 4-6.

Kirkus Reviews

If the ending is a predictable reconciliation, this preternaturally sensitive and precocious child reaches it, not through the intervention of supportive adults, but through the puzzling out of her own difficulties - even after many false starts. A poignant, affirming, and often funny debut from a promising new author. (Fiction. 9-12).

Publishers Weekly

This insightful, seemingly intuitive first novel digs deep inside the soul of 9-year-old narrator Ida B Applewood....Hannigan shows a remarkable understanding of a stubborn child's perspective in her honest, poignant portrayal of loss and rebirth. Ages 9-up.

Children's Literature - Joan Kindig, Ph.D.

Beautifully told, this first novel is filled with remarkable characters and the story is one of growth and adaptation. Seeing how Ida B deals with all of this is worth the price of admission. Ages 7 to 10.

School Library Journal - Faith Brautigam

Gr 4-6-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.

Reader Reviews

Donna

Love this book
I really enjoyed reading this book. I had to read it for a class in college. It has all the elements of a good book: Love, strength, family, and how we can all overcome the dark place in our lives - we just have to let people in.

KKSwirlCat

Touched My Heart
I myself am only a 5th grader (Ha I admit it) and this book truly touched my heart in so many ways :)

popsicle

good
I think this book is very relateable and understandable. This book is easy to relate to because people have had the same things happen to them.

logan3'seth

BEST BOOK EVER
This book is perfect for people of the age of 9 through 14 because its about a little girl and her life and the problems her and her family has through their life.

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Beyond the Book

Katherine Hannigan was raised in western New York State and earned degrees in education, mathematics, and art. She has worked as the education coordinator for a Head Start program and, most recently, as an assistant professor of art and design. She lives in northeast Iowa.

Ida B is her first novel; she says, "Ida B came to be, in large part, because of my move to the Midwest. Hers is the life I would have chosen, if I could have. And I think I try to live up to her example -- brave and true, full of fun, and fiercely loving."

She was inspired to write a children's book after hearing Kate DiCamillo speak in St Paul.  She had never read anything by DiCamillo, but thought it would be interesting to hear what an ...

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