Ivy Loves to Give by Freya Blackwood. I brought this one home from the library just on the strength of the sweet cover illustration. It’s turned out to be a favorite at our house. Ivy, who appears to be about two, loves to give, even though her presents don’t always work. Illustrations show Ivy giving her gift – a slipper to a slug, glasses to the dog – with the actual owner of the previous page’s gift looking in puzzlement for their missing belonging. Will Ivy realize her mistakes? Will there be a present for Ivy, too? The words are economical, just four sentences for the whole story, but the pictures really carry the book. They are expressive pencil and watercolor drawings, with a perfect balance of detail and lots of white space. I’ll give a shout-out to Blackwood for a rare picture book portrayal of a nursing baby. We get a glimpse of everyone in Ivy’s family, including parents, big sister, baby brother, grandma, and multiple animals, and though there is no dialog, the affection is clear. Everything fits together just so in this book. My own toddler loves to hear it over and over again, and it’s beautiful enough for me to enjoy that, too.
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