Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1887
Taking care of animals
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Ivy lives on a dude ranch in Nevada in 1949. Her parents work on the ranch, and money is tight for the family. Ivy tries to keep up with her friend Annie in fashions, but it's hard.When Annie goes off to a ritzy summer camp, Ivy feels that she should send her a friendship ring. To earn the money, she decides to get a job, and since she works well with animals, she posts an ad for her services. Her first job is taking care of a horse while the owners are on vacation. The owner of the ranch has a son, Billy Joe, who likes to follow Ivy around, and she eventually lets him help her. Ivy also cares for a dog that a client of the ranch has to leave for a while when he returns home, and for another horse. Caring for the animals can be dangerous, and Ivy encounters problems with porcupines and snakes. The local vet tells Ivy that she has a talent for caring for animals, so she talks to her parents and decides to start saving money so that perhaps some day, she can go to college.

Good Points
Strengths: This is a lovely, gentle book about animals and about the challenges faced by the rigors of life at this time in Nevada. I knew that this state was a place that people wanting divorces would stay, but hadn't thought about the people working at these ranches. Period details abound-- a ring costs $5 and Ivy gets 50 cents a day for caring for animals, Italian leather shoes are an article of envy, interest in movies and movie stars is addressed. Of course, the big draw is Ivy's experience in caring for animals. This would be an excellent choice for readers who like Henry's Misty of Chincoteague.
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