Zelda and Ivy and the Boy Next Door is divided into three vignettes. The first story introduces the new neighbor, Eugene, who pops over the fence to find Zelda and Ivy playing (i.e., Zelda "the famous paleontologist" dumping sand on her sister, "the stegosaurus," whom she's planning to dig up). Eugene offers to show the sisters his Band-Aid collection -- and when he has their attention, he asks Zelda to marry him. All week long he pesters her with this question, but when she continues to put him off with "I'll think about it," it's Ivy who ultimately earns his heart.
In the second story, Zelda won't let Ivy play "pirate" with Eugene and her because, she says, "methinks you don't know how to talk like a pirate." But with a little clever thinking, Ivy proves herself indispensable to the game. These first two tales are true to life in their treatment of the dynamics of a trio of friends: It's often two against one -- or one against two. And the predicaments these characters find themselves in are ones young readers can relate to.
The final story is vintage Zelda and Ivy -- a witty and wonderful look at sisterhood. While Zelda and Ivy are camping out in their backyard, Ivy, who's having trouble sleeping, says, "I wish we'd invited Eugene." "No way," says Zelda. "Sisters only." Ivy then asks her sister to sing a song to help her sleep, and Zelda complies with a lullaby of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Despite her flair for drama and dominance, it's clear that Zelda has a big heart. And this story, like the rest, ends with a humorous twist as, in her own subtle way, Ivy gets the best of Zelda.
Vastly appealing as either a sequel or a stand-alone book, Zelda and Ivy and the Boy Next Door features illustrations that are as spirited and vibrant as the story itself. Bright colors and bright expressions fill the pages and effectively portray the energy and emotion of the Fox friends. Sisters, friends -- and simply kids of all kinds -- will love Zelda and Ivy!
Reading level: Ages 5-9