Sunday, December 20, 2020

~ MMGM THE STORY OF HOLLY AND IVY ~

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~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY HISTORICAL
CHRISTMAS FICTION ~
--  'THE STORY OF HOLLY & IVY'  --
AUTHOR RUMER GODDEN
PICTURES BY BARBARA COONEY
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author
Bio, Link Pack to Activities,
and My Thoughts~


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ABOUT THE BOOK (FROM GOODREADS):

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (FROM GOODREADS):
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

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Barbara Cooney was a Caldecott Award winner. I found a detailed, insightful biography of her here:  
 
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RESOURCES:
 
--  Waldorf Preschool Newsletter which focuses on ideas for family activities relating to this book:  Ideas for Families 
 
--  Find activities for this story under Day 13 on this 'Literature-Based Homeschool' Blog:  Language-Arts, Social Studies & Art Ideas   
 
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MY THOUGHTS:
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-three years, and I still read it every holiday season for my own pleasure. Each time I read this magical story I find new things to appreciate and admire about it.

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! This story will open up valuable discussions about being without a family, wishing, and adoption.

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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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4 comments:

  1. Wow—this sounds like a wonderful and touching Christmas story! Thanks so much for recommending it, and happy holidays!

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  2. This sounds lovely. I would've loved this book as a child because I was really into dolls. I love Cooney's other work: Miss Rumphius is a huge favorite of mine.
    I'm going to see if I can find this somewhere, because it sounds like a great addition to my Christmas picture book collection!

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  3. What a special book. Your testament of its pull for kids is enough for me to seek out a copy. Thanks for featuring in our holiday MMGM.

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  4. Perfect book for this season. Thanks for the heads up. Merry Christmas.

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