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'Ivy and Bean' creators Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall, on having fun, historical inspiration, and Hollywood

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The creators of Ivy and Bean — author Annie Barrows and illustrator Sophie Blackall — laugh when told they are considered superstars in some households. With tongue in cheek, Barrows jokes, “If you’re 7, we’re like the hottest thing in the world.” In fact, the Ivy and Bean series is pretty hot, with over 2.5 million copies sold. But adults love the series, too. Ivy and Bean seek excitement and face challenges that readers of all ages can relate to and laugh along with. The characters are Simpsons-esque, and the pictures are just adorable.

Lucky for us, there’s a brand-new adventure, Ivy and Bean Make the Rules. In it, we find rambunctious Bean and her bookish friend Ivy setting out to create their own camp to rival the gung-ho girl-power day camp Bean’s sister, Nancy, attends. Activities at Ivy and Bean’s Camp Flaming Arrow include Houdini-like escapes, Komodo dragon hunting, zombie attacks, and an ancient battle reenactment. We talked to Barrows and Blackall by phone about the success of Ivy and Bean and where they get some of their ideas.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is your ninth adventure with Ivy and Bean. Was the success of the series a surprise to you?
SOPHIE BLACKALL:
I had no doubt. Annie’s a genius, clearly. [Laughs]

ANNIE BARROWS: [Laughs] Great. I love this woman.

Blackall: I think the beauty of the books is that each one leaves you wanting more, and that’s not just me. Kids just devour them. When I’m near kids they tell me, in these sort of plaintive voices, “Why aren’t there more? Why does it take so long to make them?” Which is fantastic. I mean, it’s exactly what you want. READ FULL STORY

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