Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Story of Holly and Ivy - Rumer Godden

Title: The Story of Holly and Ivy
Author: Rumer Godden
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books, 2005 (Paperback)
Length: 58 pages
Genre: Children's Realistic Fiction
Started: September 5, 2012
Finished: September 5, 2012

From the back cover:

It is Christmas Eve and, for the toys in Mr. Blossom's shop, it is their last chance to be sold. Holly, a small doll dressed especially for Christmas, wishes hard for her own special child. But the day ends and Holly is left in the window.

On Christmas morning a little lost orphan girl finds herself outside the toyshop. Ivy has never had a doll to love, but when she sees Holly, she knows at once that this doll is meant specially for her. And Holly knows that this girl is hers. But Ivy has no money, and the shop is closed...

A friend of mine recommended this as one of the doll stories this children's author is apparently famous for. It was originally written in the 1950s, so the story is very sweet but hasn't exactly aged well in terms of how realistic the plot is.

Ivy is a six-year-old girl in a British orphanage who gets sent to the countryside at Christmastime. Upset that she has no family to spend Christmas with, she gets off at the wrong train station in attempt to find the grandmother she doesn't have. She comes across a toy store with a doll, Holly, in the window that she falls in love with. Combine a childless police officer and his wife, a lost key, and a shop full of talking toys, and you have a sweet little Christmas story that little girls (and I'm sure younger boys) will love. A 7-9 year old reading independently could get through this in one sitting, but reading this to a younger child could take a couple sittings depending on how long their attention span is.

Very sweet and a wonderful old-fashioned Christmas story. Plot hasn't held up over time realistically speaking but younger kids likely won't notice.

Thoughts on the cover:
The illustrations in this edition are spectacular. They're simple black and white pencil drawings but some of them are just stunning, especially close-ups of Holly's face.

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