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

Written By: Katherine Hannigan


For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about Ida B:... and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!


After just one day in kindergarten, Ida B knows that traditional schooling is just not for her. She doesn’t like the rules and regulations, and she definitely doesn’t like how she seems to lose herself as a result of being there. She wants more freedom and fun, so when she begins being homeschooled on her farm, she is content. Spending her time playing in the brook and climbing trees is just what she wants to be doing, but things change when her family discovers that her mother has cancer and her father has to sell part of their farm to pay her medical bills. This also means that Ida B has to go back to public school because her parents don’t have the time to homeschool her anymore. At first, she can’t understand why her parents would do this to her and she sets out to get her land back and get out of school. In time, she faces the reality of her family’s situation and apologizes to those she has hurt along the way. She realizes that although things may not always go her way, she must accept the things that are out of her control.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why does Ida B greatly dislike public school?
  2. How would you describe Ida B’s relationship with nature? How do her beliefs about nature and the connection she has with it affect her actions and help her through difficult times?
  3. Everything in Ida B’s life seems to be going well until she discovers that her mother has cancer. How does Ida B cope with this news? How does this cause the events that come later with their farm and her having to go to public school? Can you think of a time when you got bad news? How did you react? What did you do to cope?
  4. Ms. Washington, Ida B’s teacher, doesn’t force Ida to try and make new friends when she arrives at school. Instead, what does she do to get Ida to come around?
  5. How does Ida B. try to get rid of the new people that have settled on her land? Is she successful? Why or why not?
  6. What makes Ida B realize that she needs to change her attitude? What does she do after she comes to this realization?
  7. What do you think Ida means when she says “I think the world takes care of us” (page 244)?

Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!