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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ivy Loves to Give, written and illustrated by Freya Blackwood. Scholastic, 2009. $18.99 ages 2 and up

"Ivy loves to give,

but sometimes she
would rather keep."

Isn't that true of each one of us? Ivy is a gentle and generous wee girl who loves to share and wants everyone in her family to feel the joy that she gets from giving.

The text is perfect for young readers...just enough for them to master with a lovely story to boot. Ivy is learning about the world and in the first half of the book, she has some difficulty with shoes that fit, glasses and where they belong, food and who likes it, and what to do with the baby's soother. But, practice makes perfect, and soon she has everything back in its place. Well, all except the ever-so-tempting tutu that looks as if it must belong to her older sister. She yearns for that tutu...

Lucky she is to have an older sister who is as kind and thoughtful as Ivy is. When her sister agrees to let her wear the tutu, Ivy gives the best gift of all...her love and a big hug!

I so admire the pencil and watercolor artwork, placed on cream-colored, uncluttered backgrounds. They give full attention to the family doings, and Ivy's sweet nature. Evidently, gift giving is her the goat, a snail, the dog, a chicken and finally the piece de resistance...the cat gets the baby's soother while Mom is obviously in need of it.

The center spread is wonderful. The family, finger pointing and bewildered, as they note what two family pets are wearing, where the hen laid its latest egg and the cat's new toy. It made me laugh out loud. So we go from 'Sometimes her presents are the wrong size,' back to 'But other times, her presents feel good...'

A lovely gentle story to share with your Valentine!

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