The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows

Iggy learns not all bad deeds are created equal in this humorous tour of relative morality.

The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks. GpPutnam’s Sons, 2020, 125 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10

Recommended for: ages 7-11

“All of us do things we wish we hadn’t done.” So true—but you may never have realized that there are categories of those things, in ascending order of badness. To wit: 1) things we mostly just wish we’d never got in trouble for, 2) things we wish we hadn’t pushed as far as we did, and 3) things we really, completely, honestly wish we hadn’t done. Iggy Frangi, we soon learn, is not a bad kid, in the sense of malevolent or mean. He just sometimes lets his imagination override that invisible brake labeled maybe-this-is-not-such-a-good-idea. And sometimes, as in the case of Jeremy Greerson, who is good in all the ways that mothers like (he plays cello!), Iggy finds himself needled beyond endurance.

This is a quick, funny read that may not do much to model good behavior, but most kids can identify with the three categories of things we wish we hadn’t done. And I think most kids will understand that the incident with Jeremy Greerson could have turned out much worse and they’d better not try it at home. As for the incident with the school desks—wow! Who would even think up that one? After reading The Best of Iggy, would anyone like to share their own experiences with the three categories?

Overall Rating: 3.75 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 3.5
  • Artistic/literary value: 4

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Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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