Sunday, March 25, 2018


'Ivy Takes Care'
-- Written by Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by Jim LaMarche --


ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}: 
After her best friend, Annie, leaves for a fancy camp in New Hampshire, Ivy can’t imagine how she’s going to endure the long, hot Nevada summer with no one around but that pain-in-the-neck Billy Joe Butterworth next door and all those melancholy visitors to the Red Star Guest Ranch. Happily, an answer comes to Ivy in a flash of honey-colored topaz, and she cleverly hires herself out to take care of people’s farm animals or pets while they’re away.

So begins a summer of discovery for tenderhearted but sensible Ivy, who must win over the stubborn pony Chestnut, take on the challenge of training a puppy named Inca, and patiently court the trust of the magnificent but scarred racehorse Andromeda. All this while tending to her own private hurts and hopes and managing the hapless tagalong Billy Joe, who has a knack for trouble and accidents like nobody else!

Celebrated writer Rosemary Wells delivers a compassionately observed and exquisitely distilled novel set in the midcentury Southwest about a young heroine with an exceptional gift, a heart of gold, and a budding dream for her future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}: 
Rosemary Wells is the author of a number of popular children's books, most notably the Max and Ruby series which follows the everyday adventures of sibling bunnies - curious three year old Max and bossy seven year old Ruby. She gets the inspiration for Max and Ruby from her two daughters and the experiences they have with friends and school.
Her West Highland Terriers Lucy and Snowy have also worked their way into her books, as McDuff and insight for other characters. She has also written Noisy Nora, Yoko, Voyage to the Bunny Planet series, a Christmas Book called Morris's Disappearing Bag and a collected book of illustrations of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.

In April 2007, her children's book The Gulps featuring illustrations by Marc Brown was released. Also that year she published Red Moon at Sharpsburg, a historical novel featuring a young girl in the American Civil War. 2008 brings Otto Runs For President, followed by Yoko Writes Her Name, scheduled to be published in July.

MY REVIEW:  This story is set in the summer of 1949 on a dude ranch located in the mountains of northwester Nevada. Ivy's parents work for the owners of the Red Star Guest Ranch as the wrangler/tour guide and cook. The family struggles to make ends meet each month of the year.

Ivy is an eleven-year old who will begin sixth grade in the fall. She is an only child who is nurtured and encouraged by her parents to be whatever she chooses to become. Ivy loves animals and decides she would like to go to college to become a veterinarian.

In order to save money for her college envelope, she opens up a summer business taking care of animals while the owners are away on vacation. She names her business Ivy Takes Care.

Ivy is interested in learning about caring for animals and veterinary medicine. The local veterinarian mentors Ivy and even allows her to perform some simple procedures with him while they're out on calls. She learns how to give injections and how to assist a horse who has been bitten by a rattlesnake.The vet pays Ivy to clean his office and the animal cages every afternoon during her summer vacation.

The son of the owners of the dude ranch, Billy Joe Butterworth, is a pest and a constant challenge who wears on Ivy's every nerve. He causes some traumatic situations with his crazy antics and impulsive behavior, but the two have a bond that grows stronger as the story progresses.

Ivy's best friend, Annie, leads a privileged life so the issues of social disparity are dealt with in a sensitive manner. I believe Ivy learns and grows tremendously through the way Annie distances herself from Ivy because of their varying lifestyles.

This is a heartwarming story I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I enjoy midcentury fiction written for adults and children, and I felt this book was authentic to the time period in every way. Ivy's family used a telephone with six party lines. Our neighborhood was on party lines when I was a child, but I think we only shared our line with two other families! I remember the chaos, not to mention the lack of privacy, we experienced every time we received a telephone call.

I respected and liked Ivy very much because of her kindness toward people and animals, her ambition, and her resilience in the face of adversity. I'd also like to mention how much the illustrator's drawings enriched the story. The cover art, in particular, is simply stunning.

**Highly recommended for fans of western fiction, historical fiction, and fiction about caring for animals.
I borrowed this book from the children's section of our local public library. The book was published in 2013 by Candlewick Press.
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-- Wednesday, March 28th: Spotlight Post for the 'I Am a Reader' Blog Tour for Author Rachel Anderson's newest release, 'My Sister's Intended'.

-- Friday, March 30th: Friday Amish Fiction Feature Book Spotlight & Review of Author Jerry S. Eicher's 'Always Close to Home: The St. Lawrence County Amish, Book #3'.

-- Monday, April 2nd: Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday Non-Fiction STEAM Education Feature by Author/Educator Kathy Ceceri, 'MAKE: Edible Inventions'.

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  1. Love the plot and the main character is one many young readers would enjoy. Rosemary Wells is also an excellent writer. Thanks for sharing this historical novel.

  2. Hi, Greg ~ Thank you for you positive comments. I agree that Rosemary Wells is an excellent writer; I learned a lot by reading this novel. I appreciate your stopping by today. Regards, June

  3. All of her books are a joy to read.

    1. Welcome to the blog. My Kindergarten and first grade students used to love when I read the author's picture books aloud at storytime. I can't wait to read some more of her middle-grade stories. Thanks, June

  4. What an engaging plot. This is a story many teens will enjoy -- and adults. I'm a sucker for horse and animal stories.

    1. Greetings, Patricia ~ I was thoroughly entertained and engaged by this story because of the author's fine writing and the fact that I love animal stories. Thanks for visiting 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic'. Best, June

  5. Love Rosemary Wells books! I haven’t read this one, though. Thanks for featuring it.

    1. Hello, Andrea ~ I need to branch out and read more of this author's middle-grade books! I hope you enjoy 'Ivy Takes Care'. Sincerely, June

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