Thursday, April 4, 2013
Ivy Takes Care
Ivy Takes Care
by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Candlewick, 2013. 199 pgs. Fiction
Ivy's best friend is leaving for Summer Camp and Ivy is afraid she will find friends she likes more back East. Deciding she needs to earn some money to buy Annie a birthstone friendship ring, she starts up her own business of caring for people's animals while they are away. Ivy's fears come true and Annie only writes once and never mentions the ring, but Ivy is making money and finding enormous satisfaction in caring for Chestnut, a pony, Andromeda, a former race horse, and helping to train a dog named Inca. Set in 1949, Ivy Takes Care recreates a simpler, quieter time in our history, especially in the Nevada countryside where Ivy's family works on a dude ranch. Ivy is a wonderful young girl, who comes to understand that she and her friend Annie will inevitably grow apart because Annie's family is rich and Ivy's is not. But she has her own life to live as well, saving for college and veterinary school, and bailing out that troublemaker Billy Joe. Fewer and fewer of our great living children's authors feel the need to provide a safe and nourishing space for children in their books. Rosemary Wells is one; Jeanne Birdsall another. Beverly Cleary, of course. Such books are harder and harder to come by, and should be treasured up as they arrive because who knows how long they still will.