Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
  • Alternative view 1 of Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
  • Alternative view 2 of Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

4.4 181
by Katherine Hannigan

View All Available Formats & Editions

Ida B. Applewood believes there is never enough time for fun.

That's why she's so happy to be homeschooled and to spend every free second outside with the trees and the brook.

Then some not-so-great things happen in her world. Ida B has to go back to that Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture—school. She feels her heart


Ida B. Applewood believes there is never enough time for fun.

That's why she's so happy to be homeschooled and to spend every free second outside with the trees and the brook.

Then some not-so-great things happen in her world. Ida B has to go back to that Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture—school. She feels her heart getting smaller and smaller and hardening into a sharp, black stone.

How can things go from righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong? Can Ida B put together a plan to get things back to just-about perfect again?

Editorial Reviews

Ida B, an eccentric, homeschooled 9-year-old, seems to have an idyllic life. But then her mom becomes ill, and Ida B heads off to dreaded public school. She tells her story with impeccable comic timing and achingly honest emotions, and her resilience when life has "gone from just about righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong" will touch readers long after the book's happy ending. (Ages 8 to 12)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004 >Child magazine
Publishers Weekly
This insightful, seemingly intuitive first novel digs deep inside the soul of 9-year-old narrator Ida B Applewood. Home-schooled since kindergarten, Ida B is perfectly content spending all of her free time alone outdoors, talking to the brook and the trees in the orchard (all of whom she has named). Hannigan characterizes Ida B's relationship with nature as integral to her being; when Ida B's father tells her, "We are the earth's caretakers," she replies, "I think the earth takes care of us, too." Then her mother is diagnosed with cancer, and Ida B's world turns upside down. Her parents must sell part of her beloved orchard to pay the medical bills, and Ida B must enroll in public school. In subtle ways, the author demonstrates how these events shake the heroine to the core. Ida B, feeling betrayed by her parents, powerless to save her trees, and determined to hate Ernest B. Lawson Elementary School, allows her heart to turn into "a sharp, black stone... so hard nobody could break it and so sharp it would hurt anybody who touched it." Through the first-person narration, Hannigan lets readers see Ida B's sense of humor and the compassion beneath her armor. It takes time and the gentle prodding from a sensitive teacher for Ida B's heart to soften enough for her to appreciate the things that are steadfast: her parents' love, friendship and the pleasure she receives from reading aloud. Those who have been forced to make uncomfortable adjustments will identify with the heroine's attitude-taking family hardships as personal attacks-and will understand Ida B's reluctance to let go of the old and make room for the new. Hannigan shows a remarkable understanding of a stubborn child's perspective in her honest, poignant portrayal of loss and rebirth. Ages 9-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Inquisitive Ida B. Applewood loves nature. This imaginative fourth-grader names, listens, and talks to trees and the brook in her family's Wisconsin orchard. Ida B. carefully plans everything. She convinces her parents to home school her. Ida B.'s life, isolated from peers, seems perfect until changes she is unprepared for abruptly alter her world. She angrily reacts when her parents force her to return to school because her mother's cancer overwhelms them. Ida B. refuses to communicate when her parents sell land where her beloved trees live to pay for treatments. Self-absorbed, she is unable to realize her parents' losses and acts out her resentment on classmates. Ida B. posts warning signs and confronts her new neighbors, hoping that plan will save her trees. Her compassionate parents and teacher help Ida B. reconcile her conflicting emotions and formulate future plans for planting a new orchard. Ida B. wisely tells her father that the Earth nurtures humans. This book provides information about recycling, including statistics relevant to the printing of this novel. Ida B. would be thrilled that her story was printed on recycled paper. This novel inspires ecology discussions and projects. Readers will find characters sharing Ida B.'s affinity for protecting trees in Wendelin Van Draanen's, Flipped (2001), and Rob Thomas's, Green Thumb (1999). 2004, Greenwillow/HarperCollins, and Ages 10 up.
—Elizabeth D. Schafer
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-As an only child, Ida B has had plenty of time to indulge her creative bent. She makes miniature rafts, to which she attaches notes with questions such as, "What is life like in Canada?" Acres of apple trees are her friends, and she enjoys long conversations with Beulah, Pastel, Henry VIII, and other trees. She lives life to the fullest, firmly believing there is never enough time for fun. When her mother develops cancer, her parents sell part of the orchard and send Ida B to public school rather than homeschooling her. The changes leave her feeling fiercely angry and betrayed. With the help of a wise and caring fourth-grade teacher and the enduring love of Mama and Daddy, the girl slowly begins to heal. Ida B is a true character in every sense of the word. Through a masterful use of voice, Hannigan's first-person narration captures an unforgettable heroine with intelligence, spirit, and a unique imagination. The rural but otherwise undefined setting works well in taking a backseat to the characterization. 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.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When Ida B's mother undergoes cancer treatment, the idyllically secure world that has informed her character crumbles. With her mother seemingly cut off from her by illness, with the family finances in ruin from medical costs, Ida B's beleaguered parents terminate her home schooling and sell off some of their orchard land for development. Ida B, believing she can no longer trust anyone, hardens her heart to even the kindest overtures and declares war: against her family, against her new teacher and classmates, and most determinedly against herself. Readers are intimate witnesses to her inner struggle. Hannigan has a rich way with metaphor, whether it is describing the natural world of trees, which are literally alive to Ida B, or the ever-deepening anger to which she clings. 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)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.60(d)
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

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

Chapter One

"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 hopping, one then the other, because they were ten minutes past being ready to go. So I decided to speed things up a bit.

Daddy'd hand me a dish, I'd sprint to the cupboard and put it away, race back again, and put my hand out for the next one, with my right foot tap, tap, tapping the seconds that were ticking by.

"Hold your horses, Ida B," Daddy told me. "There's plenty of time to do whatever you're planning." And he passed me a plate, slow and easy.

Well, that stopped me in my tracks. Because what Daddy said might have seemed all right to him, but it was sitting about two miles beyond wrong with me. I wasn't going to be able to put away another tiny teaspoon till I set things straight.

"Daddy," I said, and I waited till he was looking at me before I went on.

"Yes, Ida B," he answered, turning toward me.

And staring right into his eyeballs I told him, "There is never enough time for fun."

Daddy's eyes opened wide, and for a half second I wondered if I was in for something close to trouble. But then the two ends of his mouth turned up, just a little.

"Ida B," he told the ceiling while he shook his head.

"Hmmmmm," Mama said, like a smile would sound if it could.

And as soon as Daddy handed me the big frying pan, I set it in the drawer next to the oven, and I was on my way.

"Come on, Rufus," I called to Daddy's old floppy-eared dog, who was napping under the table. "You can come, too, so you'll have some company."

Now, a school of goldfish could go swimming in the pool of drool that dog makes while he's sleeping. But as soon as he heard his name and saw me heading for outside he jumped up, cleaned up the extra slobber around his mouth, and in two and one-half seconds' time, he was waiting for me at the back door.

Ida B
. . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
. Copyright © by Katherine Hannigan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Katherine Hannigan studied mathematics, painting, and studio art and has worked as the education coordinator for a Head Start program and, most recently, as an assistant professor of art and design. She is the author of True (. . . Sort Of), Emmaline and the Bunny, and the national bestseller Ida B . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World. She lives in Iowa with a bunch of cats and the occasional bunny or bird visitor. Her backyard hosts an additional array of creatures, including deer, raccoons, possums, and sometimes a skunk. But no alligators . . . yet!

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Ida B 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 181 reviews.
Pirate_Princess More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book with a powerful lesson. The story was realistic and you could apply it to situations in your own life. Ida B was a hilarious character, and I enjoyed every page of this book.
Olivia Howell More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a week and couldn't put it down the entire time! It's so precious and touching! It made me laugh and cry and it made me get mad at the people in it! This is the kind of book that makes a teen want to be a little girl again! MUST READ!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt buy this book on my nook but i am reading it in my class. After reading just 10 pages i was hooked my teacher had to pry me off the book it is very touching and teaching every person would love this! You have to get it if you don't i promise you ,you will regret it!
amandanicolemielke More than 1 year ago
Ida B…and her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World Have you ever had an imaginary fiend? One that will always be with you, always is there to talk too, and always on your side? The main character in the story, Ida B, has many imaginary friends, but they aren’t your typical imaginary friends. Ida B’s imaginary friends are trees, bushes, and streams that live in his backyard. This book is a perfect choice for young readers. Not only is it easy to read but also it captures the reader’s attention quickly. I’m usually not the type to finish a book or even read it, but this book grabbed my attention like no other. This book doesn’t have much suspense, but it does have a lot of drama. Ida B had a life you could only dream of, her life goes from perfect to horrible in a matter of a month. Ida B is home schooled until her mother starts to get sick. Her mother getting sick ruins the atmosphere of their perfect household. The sickness effects of course Ida B, her dad, their dog, and the ability to do things they used to do. It really makes you realize how something so good can turn to so horrible in a flash. The characters in this book are just what you would imagine. The father is the leader of the family, strict, protective, and wise, while the mother, is more on the calmer and nicer side. Ida B is the all around playful nine year old as people would expect. She likes to go outside, get dirty and be adventurous. Even though she is a girl she acts more boyish than a normal girl would act. She doesn’t have any real friends but the trees and bushes in her backyard because she is home schooled. In her extra time she likes to go outside and talk to them and predict what they would say back to her. You might say she has a huge imagination. The plot is very intense. The conflict is man vs himself. One day Ida B is running around and having fun and the next day she has to go back to public school, which she hates. Not only does she have to go back to public school but also she has to come home to a sick mother and a clueless father. All this stress has really gotten to Ida B. She refuses to make friends at school and even look like she is enjoying herself. She takes all her anger out on her imaginary friends ( the trees and bushes) and soon has no one to talk to. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books with drama. This book has very happy parts and very sad parts. I have to say, its probably one of the best books a young reader could read. I’ve enjoyed reading this book and I’m sure you will too. .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book also because i went to school and then home schooled for a very long time this year i went back to school and i hate it but i have lots of friends at least it was the best book ever
Eden Ritholz More than 1 year ago
I love this book,! Read it 4 times! Quick read but really worth it! It made me cry and you will wish there would be a 2nd! Cant put it down! Please read you will be impressed! Very touching and makes you want to chase your dreams.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will make you cry and laugh. This is a must read, i read it in third grade and now in 6 th im reading it again and it's still AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so wonderful happy and sad at the same time and i loved how the author put it together
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i give it five stars i read this book when i was in 5th grade and i fell in love instantly. it grabs your attention as soon as u turn the page and u cant pit it down i loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read the book yet but my freind always talks about it- so have to agree.*****-five stars-Whitney
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chandler Scoco 11/30/06 Ida B Living in a peaceful orchard among talking apples trees, chattering rivers, and old trees was Ida B Applewood. Everything changed when her mother got cancer, and there was no way her mother could keep home schooling Ida B in that condition. So it was time to go to the big elementary school. Ida B¿s father works in the orchard every day and her mother would teach Ida B. One day her father tells her that they have to sell part of their orchard, which means cutting down some of the trees. The trees that had been her only friends for her whole life. After all of this happened Ida B had a major attitude change. Since her mother was much to tired to talk to and father was to busy outside she learned to be alone. Her big heart got smaller and turned to stone and she no longer chatted with the river or the apple trees. Ida B. was now Ida and she would talk to no one. Ida¿s new teacher Mrs. W. tried to talk everyday she gave Ida books, and secretly Ida enjoyed them, secretly Ida wanted to talk. Will Ida¿s heart break free or will it stay a cold somber stone. Katherine Hannigan¿s Ida B published by Greenwillow Books, 2004 is a book great for kids eight through eleven. This story will capture you into the midst of the thoughts and actions of a young and changing fourth grader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really cute story. Ida B had to learn to cope with change when her mother fell ill and could no longer home school her. All her will went to being miserable until her conscience got the better of her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read this book yet but it looks awesome i read kathrin hanagangs other book true(dort of.........) it was awesome and i think thant some of u people kind of will relate to Delly she is the main characater so i think that ida b will be awesome just from the summary ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never read this book so if you are out there who read this book please tell me about it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really wanted to make me cry !!!! But it was soooo awesome!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is deffinately a well-written book that covers many emotions. Many kids can relate to Ida B. in some way. I think i could have enjoyed it more if I wasnt such a fantasy/sci-fi fanatic because this book is certainly realistic-fiction. I put four stars because, like in most realistic-fiction storys, it is a bit slow in certain parts. If you are the kind of person who like sweet realistic ficton, no doubt about it, this book is for you!!"-A ten year old (And why do you other people care about how long it took you to read this book?)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even after reading the reviews i was depressed. But it is well written and has brought me closer to nature. It should at least get some brownie points.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I ever
Alexa Smith More than 1 year ago
I have to say to all of you readers out their that Ida B would absolutly be one of my favorite books I have ever read. The author did a exellent job when composing this book. I fully recommend this book to every one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't my favorite, and was not in my top 10, or 15. I did like how she could talk to trees, but felt the book was slow and dragged on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, so great I couldn't put it down. You have to read it AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book you should really read it. It is sort of sad but it is a happy sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness, I read this book every year in elementary school and now I'm in high school and I'm so glad it's here. This book is such a wonderful but and really it's going to be hard for me to put it down every single time I read it in the future. I highly recommend it! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 5th grade for battle of the books. It was a good book. She ( ida b ) a hard life. I started to want to read it when my best friend started to read it and she kept telling me stuff about it then a little while later i wanted to read it so yeah it was a liitle slow at the beging but it was a very good book. I also got a good grade on the AR test that i took on it. Well anyway would like to reccamend this book to all of you!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago