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Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World

Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World

4.0 2
by Candice Ransom

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Iva has big plans to make her first great discovery this summer. Still, even a great discoverer can hit a few bumps on the road. Like Iva's bossy double-first cousin, Heaven. And her supposedly trusty dog, Sweetlips, falling asleep on the job. Must Iva do everything on her own?


Iva has big plans to make her first great discovery this summer. Still, even a great discoverer can hit a few bumps on the road. Like Iva's bossy double-first cousin, Heaven. And her supposedly trusty dog, Sweetlips, falling asleep on the job. Must Iva do everything on her own?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ransom (The Old Blue Pickup Truck) attempts a humorous, affecting story about a wacky, brave, and determined eight-year-old with mixed success. Iva Honeysuckle announces her life’s ambition early on: to become a “famous discoverer,” beginning by “finding the buried gold her great-grandfather Ludwell Honeycutt spent his whole life looking for.” Some of her misadventures are of her own making; others are provoked by her irritating, tattletale, double-first cousin (her parents married siblings), Heaven, and are mildly amusing at best. Iva’s and Heaven’s mothers each bore three children of similar ages and live next door to each other, so their kids could become best friends; only Iva refuses to cooperate, and, given Heaven’s unsympathetic disposition, readers will fully understand why. While the premise of Iva’s family situation, personality, and ambition has potential, the book suffers from a lack of development in both character and plot, and is peppered with distractingly offbeat names (Cazy Sparkle, Euple Free, Walser Compton, Swannanoah Priddy). The reconciliation between the cousins is not very credible. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7–10. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Iva Honeycutt is looking forward to the summer after third grade. She has found what she believes to be a treasure map in some old magazines of her great-grandfather's and is determined to locate the buried gold she thinks it shows. Her great-grandfather is often described as somewhat different, a description that fits Iva as well. Fiercely proud and self-sufficient, she is content to not have friends, other than a few adults. She particularly wants separation from her family, most particularly her "double" first cousin, Heaven (their mothers are sisters who married two brothers). It is easy to understand why—Heaven is a pain in the neck who often lies, bullies, and tattletales yet manages to get away with her obnoxious behavior with no apparent consequences. When Heaven horns in on Iva's friendship with Miz Compton, it's nearly more than Iva can bear; but she soldiers on in her efforts to find the treasure, with the help of her dog Sweetlips. However, it becomes clear she needs help digging in her chosen spot and so begrudgingly invites Heaven along as a helper and silent partner. Set in a small Virginia town populated with adults with unusual names and characteristics, the often-humorous story reads quickly. More a story of friendship and loneliness than an adventure, it realistically sets up the relationship between the two girls but then seems to sputter to a conclusion with no real oomph. What makes Iva suddenly become friends with Heaven? Even so, readers looking for a story about some independent girls trying to figure out what friendship means will enjoy this light read. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—In the summer after third grade, Iva Honeycutt gives herself the new name "Honeysuckle" to go with her new identity as a "discoverer" and vows to find a Revolutionary War treasure she believes is buried in her town. She faces the obstacle of her own inexperience and the ubiquitous and unwanted presence of her cousin, Heaven. The treasure she finally finds is satisfaction in the effort and a realization that Heaven isn't so bad after all. Ransom complicates the story by dipping into her own Southern history to frame the narrative elements. First, the family: sisters, who married brothers, live next door to each other and then synchronized their childbearing so each baby would have a double-first-cousin-best-friend. In their town, Uncertain, grade-school children roam free and run errands on their own and have elderly widows for best friends, and every tertiary character has a memorable Southern name. Without any grounding in a historical period, all the talk of embroidered pillowcases and crocheted toilet-tissue covers will be lost on the intended audience, resonating mostly with middle-aged readers with a soft spot for their own bygone days. The story is well told, despite the confusion, touching on issues of self-sufficiency, pride, and forgiveness. For larger collections.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Eight-year-old Iva Honeycutt dreams of being a discoverer--and she's sure her great-grandfather Ludwell's treasure map, if not her unreliable dog Sweetlips, will help make that wish come true. Iva considers herself to be "interesting, different"--even by the standards of Uncertain, Va., and its eccentric cast of characters, from taxidermist and tax man Mr. Priddy to her mouth-breathing cousin Heaven. Iva can't stand Heaven--she tattles, prays out loud and even steals her best friend. Iva's evolving relationship with this long-dreaded cousin and her obsession with finding the gold General Braddock buried during the French and Indian War propel the pleasantly rambling story, but the real treasure here is the fresh, quirky characterization of Iva and the comical reflection of a Southern family that embraces Johnny Cash, Korea, and streaking… and that's just at breakfast. Though crayon colors are contemporary, the excessively applied figurative language feels old-fashioned, with expressions like "one red cent" and "hotter than smoke from a locomotive." Expressions like "marks" (vs. grades) and "a fat lot" even add a curiously English flair to the goings-on. Ross' expressive, cartoonish black-and-white sketches are just goofy enough to fit the story's exuberance. A breezy, wide-open window into the turbulent heart of a dramatic third-grade adventurer and her small-town Virginia community. (Fiction. 9-11)

Product Details

Disney Press
Publication date:
Iva Honeysuckle Series
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Candice Ransom (www.candiceransom.com) has published more than one hundred books for children, including Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World, Seeing Sky-Blue Pink, Finding Day's Bottom, and The Big Green Pocketbook. She lives with her husband in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Heather Ross (www.heatherross.squarespace.com) is an artist, author and textile designer. Her first book, Weekend Sewing, came out in 2009. She has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show. Heather's home and studio are in New York City.

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Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LIB 805 - Book Review HC Iva, the 8 year old protagonist in this book, lives next door to her cousin, Heaven, and although they are the same age they have nothing in common. Heaven always plays it safe and wants to live a simple life when she grows up, whereas Iva wants a life of excitement and adventure. Iva’s only problem is that she lives in the small town of Uncertain and there is nothing to explore there. Everything changes when Iva finds a treasure map belonging to her great grandfather which she admires and reveres as an explorer. Iva sets out on a journey with her trusted dog and companion, Sweetlips, to locate hidden gold from the map. When Iva realizes she is not able to find the gold alone she must rely on the one person she doesn’t want help from, Heaven. Iva is interesting and easy to cheer for, but the inclusion of unnecessary characters and irrelevant information makes it hard to focus on her and her task at times. The writing is riddled with confusing idioms suited for a more mature, (and southern), audience, but are not inappropriate. The book has a good overall message of friendship and would be a light read for this age group.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun, cool,(awesome)