Solana and I have read and enjoyed chapter books and series such as Arthur, Junie B. Jones, and Ready Freddy. As an adult reader, I choose Ivy and Bean as my favorite. Solana says, “They’re new” and “They have a lot of interesting things like Ivy flushing a fossil and Bean sticking her tongue out and going 'Pbbbbt' and wiggling her behind at Nancy.” (You have to read Books 1 and 2 if that intrigues you!)
In Arthur and the other series, there are definitely fun moments. However, I always find myself getting annoyed by the author’s voice interrupting the flow to teach the reader a lesson or show us how cute their main character is. I’m also frequently noticing stereotypical characters. (Why do all of the above series have to have an obnoxious rich girl and a terrible bully? Kids can handle more complex characters!)
Ivy and Bean has an authorial voice, but it feels more like entering and enjoying Kidsworld. It’s about friendship, but it isn’t obvious and doesn’t beat you over the head with moralizing. Look for a future Booktalk podcast with more commentary!