Annie Barrows's eighth book in her series is as fresh as her first. Ivy and Bean are back and this time the two best friends are obsessed with cheese. Well, not cheese exactly, more with the red wax that covers "lowfat Belldeloon cheese in a special just-for-you serving size". The peeled off wax can be squished and molded into any number of shapes, such as a unicorn horn, a soccer ball, or a fake mustache. Every student in the lunchroom brings the cheese tidbits to school. Everyone, that is, except Ivy and Bean.
Barrows clearly hasn't lost her feel for what it's like to be a child. She understands the yearning the girls have to get their hands on that wax. When their parents refuse to buy them the treats, the girls decide to earn money and buy their own. Bean's father mentions that when he was a boy he wrote a newspaper and sold subscriptions. Ivy and Bean are off and running.
The newspaper they produce, The Flipping Pancake, has more in common with the National Enquirer than the New York Times. The two friends spy on their neighbors in order to get the real scoop on what's happening on Pancake Court. They even print a nudie photo of a neighbor (as a baby). Of course, eventually the neighbors receive their copies of the scandal sheet. As revenge comes a-knockin', Ivy and Bean put their heads together and come up with a solution that allows them to escape harm. Hint: It involves cheese rind.
No News Is Good News is another hilarious triumph for Barrows. Young readers will keep flipping the pages to find out what new plan the girls come up with next. Sophie Blackall's delightful illustrations add to the fun.
Ivy + Bean: No News Is Good News
by Annie Barrows
illustrations by Sophie Blackall
Chronicle Books, 128 pages
Published: November 2011