Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World

Candice Ransom, illus. by Heather Ross. Disney-Hyperion, $14.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4231-3173-1
Ransom (The Old Blue Pickup Truck) attempts a humorous, affecting story about a wacky, brave, and determined eight-year-old with mixed success. Iva Honeysuckle announces her life’s ambition early on: to become a “famous discoverer,” beginning by “finding the buried gold her great-grandfather Ludwell Honeycutt spent his whole life looking for.” Some of her misadventures are of her own making; others are provoked by her irritating, tattletale, double-first cousin (her parents married siblings), Heaven, and are mildly amusing at best. Iva’s and Heaven’s mothers each bore three children of similar ages and live next door to each other, so their kids could become best friends; only Iva refuses to cooperate, and, given Heaven’s unsympathetic disposition, readers will fully understand why. While the premise of Iva’s family situation, personality, and ambition has potential, the book suffers from a lack of development in both character and plot, and is peppered with distractingly offbeat names (Cazy Sparkle, Euple Free, Walser Compton, Swannanoah Priddy). The reconciliation between the cousins is not very credible. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7–10. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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