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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Review: Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring... by Vanita Oelschlager

This is a lovely way to share classic poetry with children.
Ivy in Bloom:
The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past
by Vanita Oelschlager (Author),
Kristin Blackwood (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Vanita Books (April 1, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0980016277
Genre: Children, Poetry
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Ivy In Bloom captures the weariness of a young girl tired of a long winter. ""I stare out the window,"" she says on the first spread of brown and gray, ""looking for birds or flowers / or even warm showers / but I don't see any such thing."" But then Spring comes when ""March is out of breath snow melting to flowery waters and watery flowers spring rose from its wintry rest."" And Ivy's ""heart dances with daffodils."" As these words also dance across each spread, Ivy's world erupts into a riot of color. Ivy In Bloom introduces the poetry of Dickinson, Longfellow, Browning, Wordsworth, Frost and others. Excerpts from their writings, as seen through Ivy's eyes, will open up poetry as a way for children to express their own feelings about the changing of seasons. This book includes longer excerpts and brief bios of each author.

This lovely story opens with Ivy inside a somber room, frustrated by the gray smudge of winter. She is looking forward to the colors of spring! She goes out on a cold, cloudy March day and sees the signs of winter still around her. She is even anxious for puddles and finally April comes and “Spring arose from its wintry rest.” Ivy's world comes alive with color.

Somehow I thought there would be poems shared with whimsy illustrations. Rather than full poems, and more appropriately for children, there are one or two lines or phrases enhanced with delightful illustrations. The lines are familiar and some I knew the poet. (Several of the poets are mentioned in the blurb.) Thankfully, at the back of the book the poems and poets are shared with the line from Ivy’s world highlighted. This makes the book a fun way to share classic poetry with younger children.

The fully illustrated pages are wonderful – not overly complex but full of energy and fitting to the text. Most of the poetry lines blend smoothly although one or two seemed a bit forced. Still, it is a delightful experience and learning tool. I look forward to sharing this with my granddaughters. I recommend this to others who would like to share the joy of poetry with children.

I think late winter and early spring is a good time to read this.
I received this from NetGalley. This qualifies for my NetGalley and Mount TBR Challenges as well as "I" for Alphabet Challenge.


  1. This sounds like a wonderful book - one that my grands would like. Thanks for telling us about it.

  2. This book sounds absolutely lovely! I like the idea of sharing a few classics with children.

  3. I liked the idea of this book a lot but the execution fell a little short for me. That's why I gave it 3 stars.


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