Thursday, March 26, 2009

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Ivy June and Catherine are quite different from one another. Catherine lives over in Lexington with her family in a home with 4 bathrooms. She attends a private school where she wears a uniform. And she is certain that she is loved by her parents. Ivy June lives up in the hills of Thunder Creek at her Mammaw's and Papaw's house since her own house is just too crowded with kids. She goes to public school via a long bus ride. And it's hard to tell from her folks if she is really loved.

What both girls have in common, however, is that they are part of an exchange program between their two schools. Ivy June will first be going to Catherine's house to stay and go to school for 2 weeks. After a week break, Catherine will be joining Ivy June at Mammaw's and Papaw's place. The exchange is part of their social studies program and is aimed at the disintegration of stereotypes.

But can two girls who are seemingly so different find common ground when it's really important? More importantly, can they overlook the prejudices of their friends and families?

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written a story about family and class that is authentic rather than didactic. At the hands of a lesser author this story could have easily turned into a lesson. Catherine and Ivy Jean are both flawed, but are at the point in their lives that they truly believe that they can change and move beyond or despite their family stations. Naylor brings in tension and family drama on both sides, and perfectly paces the ending so that readers are holding their breath and hoping for the best.

Filled with the scenery of the Kentucky hills and hollers, Faith, Hope and Ivy June was obviously a labor of love for Naylor. A perfect friendship story with something deeper for tweens to enjoy.

No comments: