Sunday, December 16, 2018


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author
Bio, and My Thoughts~


Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish.

Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she's sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney's luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.

Margaret Rumer Godden was born in Sussex, but grew up in India, in Narayanganj. Many of her 60 books are set in India. Black Narcissus was made into a famous movie with Deborah Kerr in 1947.

Godden wrote novels, poetry, plays, biographies, and books for children.

For more information, see the official website: Rumer Godden


I used to read this book to my first grade students each December before we went on winter break. I think I'm giving this story the highest compliment possible by saying that after the holidays, the girls and the boys begged, and I do mean begged, me to reread this touching story to them again. Most years we read the story at least three times!

It's an awesome story with delightful illustrations. The text of the story originally appeared in the Ladies Home Journal Magazine in 1957. It was originally published by Viking Penguin Inc. in 1958. I have owned a copy of this book for thirty-one years, and I still read it every holiday season for my own pleasure.

The first line of the book is:  "This is a story about wishing."

Who knows more about wishing than children? That's how the magic of this story begins. And there is an element of fantasy in this story that children of all ages will enjoy.

The main characters of the story are an orphan girl, Ivy, and a beautiful Christmas doll in a toy shop window, Holly. Through a chain of unfortunate events and through her own iron will, Ivy disobeys the instructions of Miss Shepherd, the woman who runs the orphanage. Instead of going to the infants home in the country, Ivy tells everyone at the train station and on the train that she is getting off at Appleton to spend Christmas with her grandmother.

There is no grandmother, but there is an Appleton. When Ivy awakes from a nap, she jumps out of the train at a station where the sign reads "A. p. . t.n.". Ivy is not a good reader {many of my students could relate to this at this point in the school year}, but she knows "A" stands for Appleton. She forgets about her suitcase and pencil box and begins to explore the quaint town.

Ivy enjoys the Christmas market and wanders around until darkness falls. Then she begins walking up and down the streets of the neighborhood looking into houses and seeing happy families, lovely Christmas trees, and other decorations. Ivy is even more determined to find her 'grandmother'. 

Eventually she finds the toy shop and discovers Holly the Christmas doll on the shelf in the front window. Ivy is mesmerized by the doll -- her Christmas doll

I won't go any further with the plot because I do not want to spoil the beauty and magic of this story for any of you who may read it for yourself or read it to your children and grandchildren. Suffice to say, this is my all-time favorite piece of Christmas-themed children's literature!

***Highly-recommended to readers of all ages!

SPECIAL NOTE:  This will be my last Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday blog post for 2018. I will be taking some time off from blogging before 2019 rolls around. I will be very busy in 2019 releasing and promoting my inspirational historical romance short story, 'Handmade Hearts', on January 8th. My debut middle-grade novel, an historical novel set in Northern California in 1968 and titled, 'RES-Q Tyler Stop', will be released in the spring of 2019. I'm thrilled about sharing both of these stories with readers.

I appreciate all of the readers who follow my blog and who faithfully read my MMGM posts {and other posts} each week. Your involvement and interest in my blogging and writing endeavors is greatly appreciated!

I'd like to thank all the bloggers in the MMGM group for their consistent positive remarks and support ever since I launched this new blog at the end of January, 2018. You authors and bloggers are the best ever! 

Kudos go out to Greg Pattridge over at the 'Always in the Middle' blog {see link below} for gathering and posting the list of links for MMGM on his blog each Monday morning along with posting his own reviews and news features on his blog each week. Thank you so much, Greg!

I'll be back on Monday, January 7th, 2019, with another book feature for the MMGM audience. In the meantime, may your holiday celebrations for whatever holidays you chose to celebrate be special and may 2019 be a healthy, successful, happy year for you and yours! 

Best wishes, June


Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.

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  1. Some books really stand the test of time. What an endearing story. Can't wait to see your book out on the shelf! Congratulations.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sue! Yes, this is an endearing story. I appreciate your stopping by for MMGM this week. Happy Holidays!

  2. Thanks, June. I always enjoy your thoughtful posts. Today's feature was not one I had heard of before. The story is a perfect selection for the holiday season and I'll be looking for a copy. See you again next year!

    1. Oh, Greg, your kind words really made my day--thank you! I hope you enjoy Holly and Ivy's story. Happy Holidays!

  3. I can't believe I never read this story as a child. I want a copy! And, congratulations on your upcoming releases. It will be a busy year for you! Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi, Patricia ~ Thank you for sending your congratulations for my upcoming releases! I hope Santa brings you a copy of 'The Story of Holly & Ivy' this year. Your grandchildren will adore it . . . Happy Holidays to you, too!

  4. I have never read this book, but my library has it and I've ordered it. Thanks for the review. Enjoy your time off. Happy holidays to you.

    1. Happy holidays, Rosi ~ You're welcome for this review. I hope you enjoy this little treasure as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by today for MMGM. Wishing you the best of holiday seasons!

  5. I can't remember if I've read this story or not. Good time to go find out! Congrats on your new story and book!

    1. Hello, Carl ~ Thank you so much for your words of congratulations. I appreciate your stopping by my blog to share your positive comments. I hope you get a chance to read 'The Story of Holly & Ivy' soon. Happy New Year!

  6. I haven't read this one- but it sounds wonderful. I love that your students would beg you to read it again. I must check it out. Plus- my co-author's mom's name is Holly- so I may want to pass it on to her afterwards. :)

    1. Welcome, Jess ~ Thank you for sharing your positivity here. The fact that my classes, year after year, begged me to read this book more than once warms my heart each time I think about it. I love the name Holly, and I just finished reading an Amish fiction novel where the main character's name was Ivy. Enjoy the story, and thank you for stopping by my blog. Happy New Year! June