Keep an Eye on Ivy

Thames & Hudson. Nov. 2020. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780500652534.
PreS-Gr 2–French absurdism, perfectly suited to children’s sensibilities, arrives in this book that is part doodle, part effortless-looking watercolor brushstrokes. It’s our narrator’s birthday! His favorite present is a small green plant named Ivy that he has to watch over and take responsibility for. As he goes about his week, the narrator deploys different family members to “keep an eye on Ivy” when he has to be elsewhere. Strangely enough, his family members subsequently disappear. Where could they be? Barroux has created a wonderful tale that is a mixture of Little Shop of Horrors and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” sure to delight and creep out readers. Each page is repetitive in structure and aids the plot, leading up to the grand reveal and finale. The text is simple, in a crisp layout, with only a few words that may not be part of a child’s vocabulary. While the type is small, the illustrations will be visible to the back row, making this great for story times. Each scene shows the difference between the vibrant green plant and the duller colors of the characters, highlighting the plant’s growth and sharing clues about each family member’s whereabouts.
VERDICT A first choice read-aloud that will keep kids guessing and laughing, with a chantable refrain and a great payoff.

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