“Ivy Takes Care” by Rosemary Wells; illustrated by Jim LaMarche; Candlewick Press, $15.99.

Rosemary Wells, creator of the “Max and Ruby” picture books and author of many other books for children, offers a wonderful story set in 1950s Nevada, where she grew up (there’s a photo of the author riding a horse on the back of the book).

Ivy is a character you want to root for. She lives in a trailer with her parents on a guest ranch where her dad cares for the horses. Unlike her best friend Annie, whose parents can easily afford to send her to a fancy summer camp in New Hampshire, Ivy doesn’t have rich parents. They watch every nickel. But Ivy loves animals and has a talent for taking care of them. (In the opening chapter, she rescues a tortoise that was hit by a car.) Ivy needs money to buy Annie a friendship ring, so she decides to advertise her services as a pet-sitter (dogs, horses, whatever). Her first job is caring for a stubborn pony named Chestnut. Then come weeks training a German shepherd puppy named Inca for one of the sad visitors at the guest ranch. (The guest ranch is for people waiting to get a divorce in Nevada, so many of them are miserable.)

Then Ivy cares for a scarred race horse named Andromeda (traveling the 10 miles on the school bus, then riding home at night with the mailman). During all this, she has to deal with pain-in-the-neck Billy Joe Butterworth, who also lives on the ranch with his parents and has a real talent for causing big trouble. She also has to deal with the knowledge that her friend Annie is moving on without her. But Ivy’s dreams of becoming a veterinarian, and the experience she gets in a scary emergency situation, give her confidence.

This is a terrific read, rich in humor and suspense, and with appeal to anyone who loves animals.

– Jean Westmoore


The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, is holding an “Egg-cellent Easter Event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Activities will include learning about the history of the Easter Bunny, crafts, games, storytelling and an egg roll. Cost is $6 per person. For more information, call 693-1885 or visit


Monkeys and apes don’t monkey around when they eat bananas. They really do enjoy the treat. Although monkeys and apes like eating other fruit, bananas seem to be tops on the menu. Bananas have a sweet smell and, well, taste great. Monkeys and apes like to use their thumbs to pull back the peel, too. It’s like playing.

Time for Kids: Big Book of Why