Holly and Ivy is a story about a doll who wishes for a little girl, a girl who wishes for a doll and a grandmother, and a woman who doesn't quite realize she is wishing for a little girl. It is a long story that my mom would read to us over two or three nights at bedtime. I had not read it to my girls this year because I thought it might be too long to hold their interest, but Meg, my 5-year-old, picked up our discarded library copy of the book from our Christmas book box. It was just after Christmas and the snow outside our house looked like the cozy winter scene on the cover of the book, so she wanted to read it. That afternoon, as Baby Anne slept in her bouncy seat beside us and Clare was slowly waking up from her nap on the couch, Meg crawled into the rocking chair with me and we read Holly and Ivy. (And yes, this idyllic scene of reading to children is the dream of every reading mother.)
I wasn't sure she'd like the book. Meg is sensitive to "story bumps"--the term we've adopted for a story's conflict fromVeggie Tale's The Little Drummer Boy movie. From the beginning of the book she continually asked if Holly would be bought as a Christmas gift, if Ivy would find her grandmother, if everything would be happy in the end. I assured Meg the ending was happy, so she stuck with it. As we read, the half-napping Clare continued listening from the couch and eventually joined us in the rocking chair as I read about Ivy meeting the policeman, Mr. Jones, whom she took to his own house and informed him (to his surprise) it was her grandmother's house. Both Meg and Clare were amazingly entranced by the sweet little story of the girl and the doll. We finished the book that afternoon. Now The Story of Holly and Ivy--such a part of my childhood--has been passed on to my own children and will be part of their childhood.