Ivy Takes Care by Rosemary Wells
|May 27, 2013||Posted by Christa McGrath under Animals, Children's Lit|
Illustrated by Jim LaMarche | Published by Candlewick Press (Random House Publishing)
Reviewed by Christa McGrath
This book centers around a 10-year-old girl named Ivy who lives in Nevada, USA, during the mid-century (around 1949). It is divided into 3 main sections that each focus on Ivy and her innate ability to “take care”.
Ivy lives on a farm with her family who work at the Red Star Guest Ranch—a place for soon to be divorcees to visit while waiting for their divorce decrees to become finalized. Her best friend, Annie, is away at a fancy summer camp. Ivy (whose family is unable to afford such luxuries) stays behind to help her family on the ranch while trying to dodge her pesky neighbour, Billy Joe Butterworth – a boy who has a knack for getting in trouble.
As the story unfolds, you quickly discover that Ivy is a responsible, spirited, and compassionate young girl with a love for animals. To help her occupy her time and earn some money while her friend is away, she decides to hire herself out to help care for other people’s animals/pets. She uses her first paycheque to buy Annie a friendship ring. But when the local vet believes she has a special way with animals, Ivy decides to save future earnings to help her pay for veterinary school when she is older.
Readers will join Ivy as she cares for a tenacious pony, a young German Sheppard puppy, and a scarred race horse. We are also introduced to other animals Ivy encounters along the way, including an injured turtle and a wounded fox and her kit. While the focus of the story is on Ivy’s care of these animals, she is still a young girl on the verge of her teenage years and so is not immune to the insecurities, hurts, and fears of so many other young girls her age. These typical adolescent angsts do not take center stage but they are delicately woven into the storyline.
This is a sweet, innocent, and refreshing read of a simpler time when the whirlwind activity of the internet, cell phone, and other modern technology and influences did not exist. It’s a squeaky clean story that parents will likely approve for their children. You may not find an exciting or dramatic plot here, but you will find a story that subtly demonstrates compassion, patience, and acceptance.
To find out more about Ivy Take Care, click here.