Children’s Poetry Book Review: Ivy in Bloom

Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past, is an absolute pleasure to experience. Readers will delight in Kristen Blackwood’s charming illustrations, both gray and colorful – as they read original verses from Vanita Oelschlager along with excerpts from famous poems in history.

The story blends a narrative about young Ivy, a girl who eagerly awaits the colors and adventures of springtime, with the beautiful language of poets such as Dickinson, Wordsworth, Shelley, Whitman, & Frost. Children and adults alike will be drawn to the nostalgia and dreamlike quality in this celebration of the seasons.

Ivy in Bloom is a joyful experience reminding us that change is inevitable, childhood and the world around us is magical, and poetry comes from both nature and human experience. The final pages of the book include brief biographies of each historical poet, plus the full text of each poem that an excerpt was drawn from. Not only could this story, then, serve as a child’s first experience with poetry, but also provides them with a point of reference for who wrote these poems, when and where.

My hope is that when finishing a poetry book like this one, students will also want to find out why writers write poetry, and delve deeper into understanding questions like: What makes a metaphor powerful? How is a rhyme musical? Why is a verse funny or joyful or sad? Even the youngest child can answer questions about how a poem made them feel. In order to understand poetry we must experience it, the younger the better – and Ivy in Bloom would make a wonderful addition to any home or school library.

*I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Follow this link to NetGalley: https://www.netgalley.com/book/17186/review/424591

Review also posted on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2098681415

Thank you for visiting Space to Dream! Have a lovely day. -Stacie

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/spacetodreampoetry

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich

 

Children’s Book Review: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street 


The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, by Lindsay Currie, is a middle-grade suspense novel that will give you chills and tickle your funny bone. In it, we meet seventh-grader Tessa and her quirky, artistic & loveable family. When her father’s new job with the Chicago Symphony moves them from Florida to Illinois, the novel embarks on a storyline that will be familiar to many readers: the upheaval of Tessa’s comfortable routine, leaving behind her best friend, and the tension of starting a new school in an unfamiliar place where she doesn’t know anyone. But what makes this story unique is its basis in a real Chicago ghost story in history, and because I grew up near Chicago, I remembered it. This made the experience of reading the novel even more fascinating for me, but the mysterious ways in which Currie drops clues will keep all readers interested.

Not long after Tessa and her family have moved into their Chicago home, a greystone that is over a hundred years old, she begins seeing and hearing unusual, creepy things. Her mother’s art supplies go inexplicably missing, there are mysterious drawings in her sketchpad, crying sounds in the night, and her brother’s ventriloquist dummy doll cries real tears. There is a goosebump chill factor to Currie’s writing that recalls R.L. Stine, and in fact there are small references in the book to 90s pop culture that seem to let readers know what the writer herself may have had experience with growing up. As an adult reader, these type of finds within a children’s book are delicious. For young readers, I imagine it could lead them to new and interesting things!

Beyond the excitement of things that go bump in the night, the strength of this novel is in its characters and their developing friendships. Tessa’s new friends – Andrew, Nina & Richie – each have unique personalities that spark off the page. In a book that could have focused completely on solving the mystery of Tessa’s haunted house, it also became a story about the importance of friendship. Tessa’s friends play an integral part in her journey of beginning a new school, learning to navigate a new city and helping her solve a mystery over a century old. Also deserving of a mention is that there is a girl who hangs a bit on the edges of Tessa’s new friendships – Cassidy, a girl who isn’t immediately welcoming and Tessa doesn’t know why. Though not given a lot of attention, this part of the story is important because it is through a challenging relationship like this that middle-grade readers will feel the story’s reality. Middle school is tough,. Making new friends is tough. Understanding our differences is….really tough. But, as Tessa learns, seeing our truths is important.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street is ultimately a book about challenge, independence, friendship and the importance of figuring out who we really are. These seemingly heavy topics are made lighter by wrapping them inside of a spine-tingling ghost story. Kids will love the laughs, chills and moments of sweetness it brings, and hopefully look beyond the book for information on the real Chicago ghost legend itself. When I finished the book, it made me nostalgic to return home myself, and perhaps visit Graceland Cemetery to see the famed statue of one brave girl. But before I make the journey, I’ll be sure to call my friends.

*Review based on ARC copy received from NetGalley.

https://www.netgalley.com/book/112004/review/424591

Also posted on Goodreads and Instagram @KidlitExchange. Book publishing release date 10/10/17.

Goodreads Review Link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2089732519

Instagram Review @suzieandjack @kidlitexchange

❤️📚Book Review! The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, by Lindsay Currie, is a middle-grade suspense novel that will give you chills and tickle your funny bone. In it, we meet seventh-grader Tessa and her quirky, artistic & loveable family. When her father's new job with the Chicago Symphony moves them from Florida to Illinois, the novel embarks on a storyline that will be familiar to many readers: the upheaval of Tessa's comfortable routine, leaving behind her best friend, and the tension of starting a new school in an unfamiliar place where she doesn't know anyone. But what makes this story unique is its basis in a real Chicago ghost story in history, and because I grew up near Chicago, I remembered it. This made the experience of reading the novel even more fascinating for me, but the mysterious ways in which Currie drops clues will keep all readers interested. Not long after Tessa and her family have moved into their Chicago home, a greystone that is over a hundred years old, she begins seeing and hearing unusual, creepy things. Her mother's art supplies go inexplicably missing, there are mysterious drawings in her sketchpad, crying sounds in the night, and her brother's ventriloquist dummy doll cries real tears. There is a goosebump chill factor to Currie's writing that recalls R.L. Stine, and in fact there are small references in the book to 90s pop culture that seem to let readers know what the writer herself may have had experience with growing up. As an adult reader, these type of finds within a children's book are delicious. For young readers, I imagine it could lead them to new and interesting things! Beyond the excitement of things that go bump in the night, the strength of this novel is in its characters and their developing friendships. Tessa's new friends – Andrew, Nina & Richie – each have unique personalities that spark off the page. Read my full review on Netgalley or Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2089732519 Thank you to @netgalley and @kidlitexchange for this ARC. Publishing date 10/10/17! #bookreview #middlegrade #mystery #peculiarincident #kidlit #readwithyourkids #tigerkingdom #repost @meetmissmagee

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Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich