Friday, December 8, 2017

Ivy by Katherine Coville, illustrated by Celia Kaspar

Ivy and her grandmother live in a cottage at the edge of the village of Broomsweep. Unlike the rest of the village, their cottage is untidy, their porch step is not swept twice a day (or sometimes at all!), and their garden is a wilderness. But Ivy and her grandmother are happy there, helping animals (and sometimes people), making potions from the weeds and herbs in the garden, and sometimes even seeing a magical animal or two.

But when the new queen announces a competition for the best village, the other inhabitants of Broomsweep (especially the persnickety mayor's wife, Mistress Peevish) think that their village would be just perfect - if Ivy and her grandmother cleaned up their cottage, weeded the garden, and got rid of all those dirty animals. Especially the magical ones! When a crash-landing griffin and a dragon with a cold show up, exiled from their own villages, things go from bad to worse. Will the villages send Ivy and all her friends away? Or will the magical creatures manage to save the day?

Black and white pictures show a cute, round-cheeked girl, her plump grandmother, and the creatures that take refuge at their home. This is a little past a beginning chapter book, coming in at 134 pages, but it will still appeal to that demographic. It's an intermediate reading level and has a sweet and humorous tone.

The griffin (and his protective declarations about Poof, the little white dog), and the good-natured but sinus-challenged dragon are delightful characters with humor and charm. Ivy is a sweet child, although I found her grandmother's cheerful indifference to the gathering annoyance and anger of the villages to be a little alarming.

Verdict: There are other magical animal titles that I would recommend first - the Magical Animal Adoption Agency by Kallie George and Zoe and Sassafras by Asia Citro - but if you have lots of fans of this type of story it's a fun addition to the genre.

ISBN: 9780553539752; Published March 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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