Reviews for Ivy Takes Care

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
Sixth-grader Ivy Coleman faces a lonely summer with best friend Annie off to overnight camp. Ivy hires herself out as an animal caretaker, hoping to save the money for vet school. She cares for a pony named Chestnut, a German shepherd pup named Inca, and an aging quarter horse, Andromeda, and her confidence and determination to pursue her goals grows with each new experience. Set in rural Nevada in 1949 (Ivy's parents are employed by a dude ranch as stable keeper and cook), Ivy is both tenderhearted toward the animals in her care and amazingly mature, especially in contrast with the ranch owner's annoying son, Billy Joe, who ruins everything he touches. Readers will also be intrigued that the ranch's guests are mostly temporary Nevada residents securing divorces. While too many of Ivy's animal crises are resolved through the timely interventions of the local vet, this will be popular with animal lovers, especially those who enjoyed Jessie Haas' Beware the Mare series. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
In the summer of 1949 in western Nevada, thoughtful fifth-grader Ivy starts a pet care business. Ivy's three clients and their animals broaden her world and her relationship with others in remarkable ways. The vividly evoked rural setting tends to overshadow the book's historical period, but the moving story, told from a third-person limited perspective, brings the characters to life.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
In the summer of 1949 in western Nevada, things are changing for thoughtful fifth-grader Ivy, who has a special gift with animals. Ivy senses a shift when her closest friend Annie departs for her privileged summer camp in New Hampshire. Though Ivy lacks Annie's monetary resources, she is resourceful in her own way and starts a pet care business with the intent of buying Annie a friendship ring. The ring can't hold Annie, but Ivy's three clients and their animals broaden her world and her relationship with others in remarkable ways. Ivy is a mature character with strong insight: "She realized that she missed Inca much more than she had missed Annie. With a dog, there was no guessing as to who loved whom in the world." The vividly evoked rural setting tends to overshadow the book's historical period, but the moving story, told from a third-person limited perspective, brings the characters to life for young readers. Ivy will need her independent nature and confident spirit to achieve her ambitions, but readers can see that with her open heart and mind, she will never be truly lonely. Occasional spot art unseen. julie roach

Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
Seemingly plucked from a middle-of–last-century bookshelf, this wholesome tale of a spunky fifth-grade girl's experiences in rural Nevada has a paint-by-numbers feel that keeps it from living up to the author's illustrious reputation. Readers meet Ivy as she bikes up a hill to visit her friend Annie, stopping along the way to rescue a turtle that's been run over. While Annie and Ivy's relationship plays a role in the plot, Ivy's love of animals and dreams for the future quickly become the focus. Looking for a way to earn some money, Ivy decides to offer her services as an animal sitter. While life was likely simpler in 1949, at least in some ways, the ease with which Ivy finds jobs and the local vet's trust in her abilities (he allows her to give a wild fox an injection) will both seem a mite unlikely to contemporary readers. A pesky neighbor boy creates some unexpected problems, but overall, it's smooth sailing with an especially happy ending (no dead dogs here). Although the tone is spot-on, with endearingly folksy dialogue and an innocent worldview, the contrived plot and limited character development will likely keep readers from caring much about Ivy. Disappointingly bland fare, this might please enthusiastic animal lovers or parents who prefer squeaky-clean stories but will leave most other readers wishing for more. (Historical fiction. 8-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #3

Wells's quiet period piece is set in 1949 on a ranch near Reno, Nev., where almost-sixth-grader Ivy's parents work. Ivy's deep compassion for animals spurs her to offer herself as caretaker for pets and farm animals while their owners are away; her experiences inspire her aspirations to become a veterinarian. Effectively structured in three sections, each focusing on Ivy's relationship with a different animal, the story proceeds chronologically and developmentally as Ivy faces crises with her charges--often caused by "nothing but trouble" Billy Joe, her careless companion and the ranch owners' son--and grapples with middle-grade friendship problems. Secondary characters perform reliably: Dr. Rinaldi, the local vet, is always on hand for emergencies and career advice; Ivy's hardworking parents stand by her; and the strangers who hire her are kind and sympathetic. Animal lovers will feast on the details Wells (Following Grandfather) includes and envy Ivy's opportunities to lavish her care on dogs, horses, and even a new litter of fox kits; all will be quickly won over by her good nature, determination, confidence and loyalty. Art not seen by PW. Ages 8-11. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 3-6--Twelve-year-old Ivy Coleman's hardscrabble ranching family is just scraping by, while her friend Annie Evans's well-to-do parents can afford to send her to an expensive East Coast summer camp. Their differences never seemed that important before, but this year Ivy starts feeling inferior to Annie's camp friends. They part ways for the summer on bad terms, which inspires Ivy to buy Annie a conciliatory Tru-Friendship ring. To earn the money, she starts a pet-sitting business. Annie moves to the back of Ivy's mind as she focuses on interacting with her animal charges and her aspirations to become a veterinarian. While Ivy is unflappably responsible, her neighbor Billy Joe Butterworth often tags along and wreaks havoc at every job. Fortunately, the kindly local vet always sets things right. Ivy does, in fact, buy Annie the ring, yet they aren't able to reclaim the closeness they once had. But now Ivy has her business and the dream of becoming a vet, and she holds these things tight as Annie drifts away. Parts of the story are a touch didactic-they can read like a manual on how to care for animals. Ivy is perhaps too responsible to be believable, yet she is still immensely likable and will inspire children who are interested in veterinary care. There are quite a few highly suspenseful moments when animals are in peril, and these instances keep the pages turning. Give this one to animal lovers.--Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY

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