Mini-Review: Ivy in Bloom, Vanita Oelschlager & Kristin Blackwood (2009)

March 16th, 2016 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Give me sunbeams dazzling!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through NetGalley.)

I’m a child of New York, where winters are cold, miserable, protracted affairs. By the time spring arrives (some time in May!), we’ve long since run out of places to pile the snow, and even the promise of weekends spent snowboarding aren’t enough to ease the seasonal depression. I moved to Missouri more than a decade ago, but even these mild winters are sometimes more than I can bear. The cabin fever kicks in mid-January, when all the fun holidays have come and gone, leaving nothing but grey skies and biting air in their wake.

So, Ivy? I feel ya.

Ivy in Bloom is an adorable little picture/poetry book that’s sure to lift the spirits of children and adults alike. It’s March, and cute-as-a-button Ivy Van Allsberg can’t wait for spring to bust up her winter monotony. The story kicks off with longing poetry penned by Vanita Oelschlager, and then transitions into lines sampled from the greats: Charles Dickens, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, to name a few.

(While the poets aren’t credited in the body of the text, so as not to interrupt the flow, the back matter reprints the poems, with the borrowed lines highlighted. It’s a neat way to get younger readers interested in poetry without overwhelming them, I think.)

As lovely and cunningly crafted as the text is, the artwork might just be my favorite part of the book. Kristin Blackwood’s illustrations are cute as all get out, and she does a skillful job of reflecting the changing tone of the story. Dreary shades of grey give way to rich browns and (eventually) vibrant, life-affirming greens and yellows and reds as spring blossoms.

Read it: from the bottom of a cozy dog pile; with a cup of warm tea; when you’ve had your first daffodil sighting of the year.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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