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

by Katherine Hannigan


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

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060730260
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/29/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 76,148
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About 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!

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.

Reading Group Guide

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?

About the Author

Katherine Hannigan has taught art and design at the university level. She lives in northeastern Iowa.

Customer Reviews

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Ida B 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 187 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.
Phantasma on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I thought this would be a fun book. It wasn't fun. It was sad and depressing. It was well written but I don't like sad children's books. Ida B. is both lovable and annoying. The characters were well written and fleshed out. I can see this helping other children get through a parent's diagnosis. It just wasn't my thing
Omrythea on LibraryThing 3 days ago
My daughter really enjoyed this book. It does an excellent job of showing how a girl works through her anger and grief when many changes occur in her family's life.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Ida B is a sweet story about a girl who loves nature and has to deal with some difficult issues: her mother's illness, loss of the land, trying public school. An enjoyable read.
t1bclasslibrary on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This is a great book- the main character is a fascinating person with a fascinating life. I wasn't big on the way she responded to her problems, but that is how some people, even fascinating people, respond. I loved her interesting forms of schooling, and her connection to nature. This book also reminds us of the things that school can be- good and bad.
avcr on LibraryThing 3 days ago
As she impatiently tries to hurry her Father¿s dish drying, Ida B. informs him, ¿Daddy, there is never enough time for fun.¿ My sentiments exactly! Ida can¿t tolerate the boxed in trapped feeling all the rules of ¿time¿ engender, so Mom and Dad home-school Ida B. Hannigan deals with the issue of cancer through a child¿s perspective, and when this cause Ida to have to go back to Miss Washington¿s class at Earnest B. Lawson Elementary School, Ida hardens her heart and determines to get even. Love the description of the Bus: the yellow prison of propulsion. And, ¿we the undersigned¿ is a laugh out loud commentary on the focus of childhood.If You Liked This, Try: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry, Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan.