Kvasnosky, Laura McGee. Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways. Illustrated by Laura McGee Kvasnosky. Candlewick Press, 2006. 42 pages. $14.99. ISBN 9780763626891.
Uh oh! Cucumber sandwiches for lunch again! Fox sisters Zelda and Ivy have had enough and they decide to run away to the backyard. Each sister selects some special items for her suitcase (including a writer’s notebook, lucky jewel, Princess Mimi doll, and Go Fish cards) and they find a perfect spot to spread out their blanket: behind a bush, yet with a good view of their parents’ activities. The girls find plenty to do while they wait, but strangely enough, Mom and Dad don’t seem to miss them! The following two chapters have similar appealing plots that feature cleverness, humor, and creativity: “The Time Capsule” and “The Secret Concoction.” The illustrations by Kvasnosky are colorful gouache resists, demonstrating playful details and a sense of fun that matches the mood of the sisters and the story.
Young writers need great writing prompts! The first two stories in this collection will be just the type of inspiration for first or second grade creative writing. “What would you pack in your suitcase if you were running away to the backyard? What special things would you bring? What would help you pass the time or feel comfortable?” “What would you put in your own time capsule for the children of the future to discover? What objects would tell them about you and your life?”
When Zelda and Ivy are camped out in the yard, I loved the way they passed the time. They decorated “the edge of their blanket with pussy-willow puffs,” they figured out how their names are spelled backwards, and “they wrote a two-chapter book about a worm named Pierre.” In the next chapter, they decide to include the story of Pierre in their Time Capsule. These type of details help to flesh out the characters and make them seem real.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner, 2007; ALA Notable Children’s Books for Younger Readers, 2007.
Humor, Family, Sisters
Though the anthropomorphized foxes might remind readers of James Marshall’s classic Fox series, the humor of this series is more straightforward. Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! (Lin) is a closer match, a story of twin sisters who have unique talents but share the same sense of fun.