cover image Ivy Loves to Give

Ivy Loves to Give

Freya Blackwood, Scholastic/Levine, $15.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-545-23467-2

In this understated gem, a small girl gets a thrill out of acts of largesse—even if the things she bestows aren't really hers to give or don't have any utility for the recipients. Ivy gives her grandmother's reading glasses to the dog, her mother's coffee to the family's chicken, and her baby sibling's pacifier to the cat (who is definitely not amused). Fortunately, her family has no problem with regifting, and when Ivy gets it right, "her presents feel good, taste delicious, fit perfectly, and are exactly the right size." A modest act of generosity by Ivy's older sister brings the story full circle and allows a tip of the hat to two universally recognized truths: receiving is as nice as giving, and the finest gifts aren't always things (Ivy's "best gift of all" is a hug). Blackwood's (Her Mother's Face) text—five sentences total—is brilliant in its economy, empathy, and pacing; the same can be said for the subtle and slyly funny family characterizations of her delicate pencil and watercolor drawings, rendered on a creamy white backdrop with minimal propping. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)