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Ivy: 11/18/17

Ivy by Katherine Coville

Ivy by Katherine Coville and illustrated by Celia Kaspar is a fantasy novel for young readers ready to move onto chapter books. Ivy lives with her grandmother at the edge of Broomsweep where they care for anyone (human, animal, or magical creature) who needs help.

The blurb suggests this is a book for fans of Jessica Day George (her shorter Fairy Stories) and E.D. Baker. I agree but the set up the book is also a good companion piece to Woundabout by Lev A. C. Rosen. Both book feature towns with homogenous, uptight, strict residents — and main characters who are outsiders and rule-breakers.

On most days, Broomsweep leaves Ivy and her grandmother alone. While they prefer to have all the stoops swept twice a day and all the yards neat and tidy, the healer and her granddaughter are allowed to slip because they are useful. That is until the new Queen begins a tour of the kingdom with the promise that her favorite village will be the host of a huge party to celebrate her coronation.

So that's the set up. Broomsweep decides to crack down on Ivy's family to make sure the village is picture perfect for Her Majesty. Of course there are immediately problems — sick patients, all of them magical, needing a place to stay and heal. All of them make a mess. All of them make it difficult (impossible) for them to clean.

This book would work well in a classroom story time. Tucked in with the magical hijinks, there are messages about taking time for family, prejudice, and kindness to strangers.

Finally, the illustrations help bring the characters to life. They are done by Celia Kaspar who also works in animation. Her character designs have a Chuck Jones feel to them.

Three stars

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