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Friday, 31 January 2020

Vincent de Paul - J.B. Midgley - CTS Great Saints

Vincent de Paul
CTS Great Saints
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825033
eISBN 9781784693831
ASIN B073H166SQ
CTS Booklet B701


In just over the last 2 years I have read over 100 books from the Catholic Truth society. This was the sixth volume by Midgley that I have read, and the second in the Great Saints Series. I have read many in the Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved most of them. After reading this volume and others by Midgley, am I not only trying to track down all the 26 books written by Midgley for the CTS but have now added several others in this series to my wish list from other authors. This book was published in 2008 and the eBook edition in 2017. Considering how good this and other books by Midgley are I can only hope that CTS releases all of his works in eBook format. But back to this volume. The description of this book is:

“Amid the wars and turmoil of 16th-century Reformation France, in the midst of great suffering and poverty, Providence provided an amazing example of apostolic zeal. Highly intelligent, physically small, and burning with love for Christ in the poor, Vincent de Paul stimulated a major change in the social consciousness of France and far beyond. His Religious Orders for men and women continue today. This account of his life and times captures the amazing spirit of this humble and courageous man, who truly loved and served the poor.”

And the chapters in this volume are:

Drinking from the Fount of God’s Love
Church and Society in the Time of Vincent
Formative Years
A ‘Call within a Call’
Vincent’s Apostolate is Born
Daughters of Charity
Education of the Clergy
Later Years and Homecoming
Devotion to Saint Vincent de Paul
Writings of Saint Vincent de Paul

I doubt you would encounter a Catholic that does not at least know the sane of Saint Vincent de Paul. Many parishes, dioceses and even cities still have a presence of a ministry in his name. What this book does is allow is to know more about the man, and his life. I for one can state that never knew he was captured at sea and was for a time a slave. This booklet serves as an excellent introduction into the life and ministry of this great saint. I particularly enjoyed the final section of the volume that contained Several quotes form the writings of the saint. Two in particular that caught my attention were:

“Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick the devil employs to deceive good souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, on order that they may no longer be able to do anything.”

And

“When you leave prayer to help the poor, remember that the work has been done for God. Charity takes precedence over any rules, everything must be directed towards it, and what it orders should be carried out. Let us show our service to the poor with renewed ardour in our hearts, seeking out any abandoned people above all, since they are given to us as lords and patrons.”

The acknowledgements section at the beginning of the book lists several resources for going deeper into the life and works of Vincent de Paul. It is another great read in an excellent series. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic


Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 
...

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B.Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B.Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B.Midgley
Dominic - J.B.Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B.Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B.Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B.Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B.Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Rita of Cascia - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Robert Bellarmine - J.B.Midgley
Saint Anthony of Padua - Jude Winkler
Saint Dominic and the Order of Preachers - Richard Finn
Saint Francis of Assisi - Jennifer Moorcroft
Saint Ignatius of Loyola – J.A. Philips
Saint John the Baptist - J.B.Midgley
Saint Padre Pio A Holy Priest - Jim Gallagher
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux - Vernon Johnson
Thomas Aquinas - Vivian Boland
Vincent de Paul - J.B.Midgley











Thursday, 30 January 2020

Lenten Journey with Mother Mary - Father Edward Looney

Lenten Journey with Mother Mary
Fr. Edward Looney

Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781622828487
eISBN 9781622828494
ASIN B082MQ9VYY


This is the third volume from Father Looney that I have read and maybe the best. It is designed as a Lenten devotional, but I have read through it in order to be able to write a review of the entire book. That being said I already plan to reread it this year over lent, a day at a time as it is intended. The five weeks of Lend can actually be read at any time of the year and used for personal retreat. It is only once we get to Holy Week and the Easter Octave ending on Divine Mercy Sunday that would not work as well at another point in the year.

The volume contains 46 devotions from Ash Wednesday through to Divine Mercy Sunday. Each of these days contains a quote or bible verse for the day, a prayer, and ends with a suggested action. A sample day is:

Ash Wednesday - Mary Prays for Us

“I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners.”
— Our Lady in Champion, Wisconsin

Today begins our Lenten journey. Even though it’s not a holy day of obligation, many people go to church to commence this yearly observance. We are marked with ashes, a reminder of our death. We are invited to pray more this Lent, perhaps with the Stations of the Cross. We decide to make small sacrifices, acts of denial, to suffer just a little as a reminder of the suffering of Christ. Some people hope for a life-altering season as they give up vices and bad habits, such as overconsumption of caffeine, alcohol, or sweets. For some, those little penances offered to God become the grace they receive on Easter Sunday, as they continue to deny themselves after the penitential season.

Lent is a time to take our spiritual lives more seriously — to read, pray, and meditate. I hope this book will help you to do just that.

Over the next several weeks, we will journey with the Blessed Virgin Mary and ponder the many messages she spoke to children and adults throughout the years. The Lenten themes of prayer, penance, and conversion are the same themes that the Mother of God addressed in her apparitions over the last several centuries. We will meet the visionaries and apply the messages of Mary to our daily lives and our Lenten observances.

There is one apparition that holds a special place in my heart. It took place in 1859 in the Diocese of Green Bay, the diocese where I was born, raised, and now serve as a Catholic priest. The Blessed Virgin appeared to Adele Brise, a twenty-eight-year-old Belgian immigrant. After seeing the silent, beautiful woman twice, Adele asked the local priest what she should do. He instructed her to ask the woman who she was and what she wanted. That’s what Adele did when she saw the Virgin for the third time. “In God’s name, who are you, and what do you want of me?” she asked. Mary responded, “I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners.” So Adele learned not only her identity, but, even more special, that the Queen of Heaven was praying for her. Adele was a sinner. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. The great news is that we have an intercessor in Heaven who is praying for us. We ask her so often to do that: Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Yes, Mary prays for us sinners, but even more specifically, she is praying for our conversion.

As we begin this season of Lent, a season calling us to conversion of life, we know that Mary prays for us. Even as we begin our Lenten observance, as we hunger through fasting, as we struggle to find time to pray, we should be at peace, because Mary is praying for us. During the next several weeks, don’t forget that. Remind yourself often that Mary is praying for you. Even if we forget to ask, she prays for us; she will not forget her children.

Dear Blessed Mother, whisper my name in Jesus’ ear and ask Him to help me live this Lent to the fullest. Through your intercession, obtain for me the grace of conversion where I need it most.

Lenten Action
Spend a few moments in prayer today and consider what aspect of your life needs greatest conversion. In what area of your life have you not conformed to Christ or heeded His teaching? Make a resolution to strive to turn toward the Lord.”

Father Looney draws from his extensive knowledge and personal experiences in writing the reflections contained within. He also gives examples from people he has encountered. Some of the stories will seem miraculous, like the 2 encounters with a specific woman, Anna. And Some will leave you wondering, like the tale of the thief. But all will have an impact on your heart, your mind, your faith, and your life. 

The section on hos to use this book has some age advice. Specifically to keep going. If we end up falling behind, just pick up where you should be or read the extra days. He even goes so far as to state:

“If you miss an entire week, that’s okay. Begin again, starting with the week you are currently in. The devil wants to discourage us and does not want us to draw closer to God in prayer. The devil doesn’t want us to listen to Mary, because her foot is the one that will crush the serpent’s ugly head.”

I love picking books to work through for Advent and lent each year. Some I read once and am done, and others I read several years in a row or return to every few years. This volume is one I will likely use the next few years in a row. It is excellently written. It is engaging, encouraging and if read with an open heart will be a challenge. But it is good to be challenged during lent. 

If you are looking for something new for your Lenten journey this year I can highly recommend this book!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fr. Edward Looney:
A Heart Like Mary's: 31 Daily Meditations to Help You Live and Love as She Does
Our Lady of Good Help Mary's Message and Mission for Adele Brise and the World
A Rosary Litany
Our Lady of Good Help Prayer Book For Pilgrims

Lenten Journey with Mother Mary









Wednesday, 29 January 2020

George: Patron of England - J.B. Midgley - CTS Great Saints

George: Patron of England 
CTS Great Saints
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824593
CTS Booklet B695


In just over the last 2 years I have read over 100 books from the Catholic Truth society. This was the fifth volume by Midgley that I have read, and the first in the Great Saints Series. I have read many in the Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved most of them. Now after reading this volume am I not only trying to track down all the 26 books written by Midgley for the CTS, but have now added several others in this series to my wish list. But back to this volume. This book was published in 2007. To date I believe there has only been the single printing and there is no eBook edition.

The back of the volume states:

“Images of Saint George on horseback slaying the dragon are well known. What of his life, his story, his context, his links to England, his place in the liturgy? St George appears in verse, art and drama. There are well known devotions associated with him. All this and more is explored in this highly informative booklet.”

After having read this booklet I agree it is highly informative. My grandmother, though an Anglican, and not Catholic, always instilled a devotion in me to Saint George. In My teen years I wore a Saint George medallion she purchased for me. It has been lost in time, but my appreciation and devotion to the saint has waxed and waned over the years. But once I saw that this one was of Midgley’s books I tried hard to track down a copy to read. The chapters in the volume are:

England’s Patron
Why patron Saints?
The Life of Saint George
Devotion to Saint George
The Dragon in Saint John’s Book of Revelation
Chivalry
Saint George, Patron and Titular Guardian
The Feast of Saint George
The orders of Saint George
Saint George in Art, Drama, and Verse.

A few years ago, Dr. Taylor Marshall wrote a trilogy of epic historical fiction on the life of Saint George beginning with Sword and Serpent. That series renewed my interest in this saint. And this little volume has sparked those flames even more. 

Often when I read one of the CTS booklets, I find a prayer I really like and add it to my list of prayers. There were several in this book, but none of them really grabbed my attention. But as mentioned this book has and I plan on reading further into the history of Saint George and his legacy. Unlike many of the CTS booklets this volume did not have a bibliography at the end to use as a jumping off point for that further study. But the Acknowledgements at the beginning does list 13 books, 3 or 4 of which might prove good starting points for further exploration. 

I believe I fell away from devotion to George when reading a lot of Irish history, and about the oppression and abuse of the Irish and Scottish at the hands of the English. This volume has helped me to reconnect with the Saint. I am thankful that I was able to track this book down, and for having read it. It is another excellent, well researched, and crafted book by J.B. Midgley. It is another excellent read from both Midgley and the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic


Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 
...

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B.Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B.Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B.Midgley
Dominic - J.B.Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B.Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ - John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B.Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B.Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B.Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Rita of Cascia - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Robert Bellarmine - J.B.Midgley
Saint Anthony of Padua - Jude Winkler
Saint Dominic and the Order of Preachers - Richard Finn
Saint Francis of Assisi - Jennifer Moorcroft
Saint Ignatius of Loyola – J.A. Philips
Saint John the Baptist - J.B.Midgley
Saint Padre Pio A Holy Priest - Jim Gallagher
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux - Vernon Johnson
Thomas Aquinas - Vivian Boland
Vincent de Paul - J.B.Midgley










Tuesday, 28 January 2020

It Might Have Been And Other Stories - A.K. Frailey

It Might Have Been: And Other Stories
A.K. Frailey
A. K. Frailey Books
ISBN 
9781712512968
ASIN B08236RFBZ


I have only read one novel from A.K. Frailey. But have intended to read more of them, and even have a few on my device ready to go. I have enjoyed many of the stories and reflections she has shared links to via social media, and greatly enjoyed them. When I found out she had released this collection of short stories and a collection of reflections, Heart Beats: Spiritual Being Human Journey. I immediately picked up both. I could not decide between fiction and non-fiction so with a tossed a coin, this one lost but I read both in under a week. And I can state that both are great collections. The stories in this volume are:

It Might Have Been
Trying to Be a Hero
Unless You Give Up
As Mom Used to Say
Wouldn’t You?
If the World Were Any Better
I Think I’ll Live
The Loving Choice
A Real Smile This Time
Blue Ink Flowed
Hidden Under Irony
So What’ll It Be?
The Difference Between Us
If You Want To
Topic Sentence
Live and Learn
Romantic Soul
New Life into Her Soul
Face the Cranberries
One Aisle at a Time
A Connection
It Makes All the Difference
Start in the Clouds
For the First Time in Months
Like Dreams upon Waking
Where Is My Hope Now?
Die Hard Optimism
And Everything in Between
I Need the Practice
What Do You Know?
Leopold
Sister-O-Mine
With Your Help
Crushed—but Not to Death
I’ll Always Know
Before the Lights Go Out
For the Living and the Dead
That’s Your Job
Beyond the Scar
Live Honestly and Follow Your Passion
Soul Mates
Like a Ballerina
Take over the World
Not with His Eyes
Innocence
Enlightened
Alternative Universe
So Blind
My Love Is Strong
Don’t Miss a Day
You Don’t Look Dead to Me
Ol’ Diablo
A Beggar’s Choice
High
Survival of the Fittest
Good Deed
Addicted to Me
Skeletons
Same Spirit
Guardian
Visions of Grandeur
Drama Trauma
Decorum
The Visit
Persian
Native Elements
Translator
Lilliputians
Every Word
To Make a Difference
The Key
James Milford Parker III
Sanity
The Kingdom of IF

My three favorite stories were Topic Sentence, That’s Your Job, and Ol’ Diablo.  But there are many excellent stories in this collection. While reading these stories I felt a sadness. There Are many stories that I want to know more about. What happened before, what happened next. But I also thought about J.F. Powers, Powers was a master of short fiction. In his lifetime of work, he published 2 novels, and 5 collections of short stories. But both novels had multiple chapters that had been previous published as shorter fiction. I would love to see some of these pieces resurrected into a larger work. But even if that wish never happens, this is a great collection of short fiction. I wish there was an index, or table of contents, but other than that it is an excellent collection, that I highly recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!



Books by A.K. Frailey:
Melchior: Vengeance is Mine
The Adventures of Tally Ho
It Might Have Been: And Other Stories
Encounter Science Fiction Short Stories and Novella


New Earth Series:
The Last of Her Kind
NEWEARTH: Justine Awakens


Deliverance Series:
ARAM
Ishtar's Redemption: Trial by Fire
NEB the Great: Shadows of the Past


Hidden Heritage Series:
Georgios
Georgios II - A Chosen People


Old Earth Series:
OldEarth ARAM Encounter
OldEarth Ishtar Encounter
OldEarth Neb Encounter
OldEarth Georgios Encounter


Non-Fiction:
The Road Goes Ever On: A Christian Journey Through the Lord of the Rings
Heart Beats: Spiritual Being Human Journey



Monday, 27 January 2020

Companion to the Angels - J.B. Midgley - CTS Companions Series

Companion to the Angels 
A little Handbook on the Truth about Angels 
CTS Companions Series
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860820816
eISBN 9781784693459
ASIN B073FJC7WD
CTS Booklet DO661


This is fourth volume by J.B. Midgely that I have read and the second in the companions series. I have read nearly a hundred books from The Catholic Truth Society over the last few years. Some have been incredible reads, some have been excellent, and all have been good reads. And lately I have become fascinated with the works of Midgley. I have a friend who calls me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find an author I really like I try to read everything they have written. That is now the case with Midgely, I believe he has published 28 books, and 26 of them are with the Catholic Truth Society. Most of those books are either in the ‘Great Saints Series’ or like this one the ‘Companions Series’. This book was originally published in 2000 and the eBook edition released in 2017. An I can safely state that this particular volume is another excellent read.

The chapters in the volume are:
Introduction
The Angels
The Celestial Hierarchy
The Fall of the Angels
Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael
The Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels
Angels in the New Age

But even before the table of contents there are two quotes that set the tone for the volume:

“We believe in One God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Creator of things visible,
such as the world in which our brief life
runs its course, and of things invisible,
such as the pure spirits which are called angels.”
     -Profession of Faith, 
     -Pope Paul VI, 1968

“Angel sent by God to guide me,
Be my light and walk beside me;
Be my guardian and protect me;
On the paths of life direct me.”
     -Prayer to our Guardian Angel

The introduction of this volume states:

“This booklet invites us to consider again the Angels - those who share our dwelling in time and space and whose existence is entwined with our own. It would be a pity if Angels were remembered only when Christmas carols were sung, cards written or shining examples fixed to the tops of conifer trees. In acknowledging the angels, we join in their adoration of our Creator and thank Him for their creation and ours. Awareness of the guardian angels is a special comfort for which to be grateful. This companion considers the nature and activity of angels, how some, led by Satan, disobeyed God and the effects this fall from grace had upon our own history of salvation. The inspiration is the Church’s belief and teaching, her protection against misunderstandings about the world of the spirit, and her Feasts and Liturgy by which she guides devotion to illuminate doctrine and support the prayerful habits of Faith which keep it vibrant.”

And Midgley does an excellent job of present solid teaching on the Angels from history, from church documents, and from the bible. In the first chapter The Angels the sections are:

What the Church Believes
Angels in the Bible
Angels and the Prophets
Visits by Angels
Angels as Sons of God
Angels in the New Testament
The angels and Jesus Christ
Christ speaks to us about His angels

Considering the size of this volume Midgley goes into detail. The writing is tight, clean and crisp. Of special importance is the last chapter ‘Angels in the New Age’, I would have loved to have had this book 30 years ago to have shared with my grand mother, for this chapter alone.

This is an excellent volume. If the rest by Midgley and even others in the series are as good, I will need to read them all. Share them with my children and encourage others to read this book and the whole series. Another great read from the pen of J.B. Midgley and from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic


Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 
...

Other books in the CTS Companions Series:
Companion to St. Joseph – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Mary – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Peter – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Paul – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Angels – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Order of the Mass - Mgr Bruce Harbert
Companion to Reading the Old Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Reading the New Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Praying with the Bible – Z. Mattam
New Companion to Advent & Christmastide - CTS
New Companion to Prayer - Celia Wolf-Devine
New Companion to Lent - CTS
...










Saturday, 25 January 2020

Ivy and Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go - Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall - Ivy and Bean Book 2

Ivy and Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go
Ivy & Bean Book 2
Annie Barrows
Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)

Chronicle Books
ISBN B0035D9QFE
eISBN 9780811876520
ASIN 9780811849111


I have read this book twice, four years apart. First with my oldest daughter and then with my youngest daughter. My son who is between the girls has shown no interest to the books, but he did listen as his sister read it to me, usually while he did his piano practice. When I read this with my oldest, she was a very reluctant reader and we alternated pages, and if ever there was a shorter page she wanted to swap for it. With my youngest even though she struggled occasionally she read the entire text to me. Usually a chapter or 2 a day to get her 20minutes reading time in. My oldest rated it 4/5, I rated it 4/5 both times, and my youngest rated it 5/5. My Son gave it 4/5. So overall a 4/5. 

I still have some reservations about the book and series. The whole Ivy being a watch and seeing ghosts. And ultimately creating a potion and trying to banish the ghost. For some it is a fun read. For others it will be scary and can be a cause of concern. And Ivy and Bean have no qualms about lying, misbehaving, and defying parents and teachers. In my opinion not great examples. But On the other hand, they are books my girls have wanted to read, and have kept reading. My oldest lost interested after 4 books and moved on to the Stella Batts books. We will see what happens with my youngest. But any book that keeps them reading and developing their skills is one I will read with them for now. But we always talk about the content of these books, and that the behavior modeled is not to be copied.

In this story Ivy, instead of admitting she can’t do a cartwheel to the girls in her class, pretends she is seeing a ghost by the washroom across the field. Soon the whole grade is talking about the ghost. And one girl sneaks to the senior school to use the washroom because she is afraid to use the haunted one. Ivy tells the kids the school was built over a burial ground and the ghost is mad and is opening a gateway. Ivy and Bean make a potion and offering to drive the ghost away. 

Ivy and Bean have a knack for getting in trouble and stirring things up. And they do a good job of that in this volume. These are not my favorite books, but the kids seem to really like them.

In this story the mothers of both Ivy and Bean (Bernice) have been telling them they should become friends. They live across a cul-de-sac from each other. But both girls have hesitations and have not bothered acting on the advice. Until the day Bean is about to get in big trouble, and Ivy encourages her to run from her older sister who is getting their mother. And helps bean to hide and formulate a plan. Ivy believes she is a witch and from the set up of her room she has fairly liberal parents. She has a spell book she got from an aunt that is over 100 years old. The two plot to put a spell on Bean’s sister to force her to dance non-stop. To do so they need worms, lots and lots of worms.

There is something witchy about their friendship. And Ivy, who outwardly appears ‘normal’ but inwardly reminds me of Wednesday Addams. And Bean seems a little awkward and weird on the outside but seems to just be a kid with a knack for getting in trouble. We are told that “The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn't be friends.” But circumstances brought them together and a bond was formed. A bond that now spans 11 books.

The books are a great leveled reader. Both my girls read it the first month of grade 4. At grade 4 if reading at grade level this book should be an easy read. If they are a little behind grade level, they will need some help. But both girls love the book and the story. But I had to want my youngest that it is a story and not an instructional manual, she cannot do to her sister what bean did to hers! And I have a feeling based on my youngest that I will be reading the whole series soon.

Note: My youngest read the paperback to me, and I followed along on my phone. The pictures are much larger and integrated into the text in the print edition.

Books in the Ivy and Bean Series:
Ivy and Bean
Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go
Ivy and Bean and the Fossil Record
Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter
Ivy and Bean Bound to Be Bad
Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance
Ivy and Bean What’s the Bid idea?
Ivy and Bean No News is Good News
Ivy and Bean Make the Rules
Ivy and Bean Take the Case
Ivy and Bean One Big Happy Family