Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Favorites: The Story of Holly & Ivy

The Story of Holly & Ivy
Written by Rumer Godden
Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Loneliness and wishing are the themes of this magical classic Christmas story, first published in 1957. Ivy is a lonely orphan wishing for a place to belong. Holly is a doll in Mr. Blossom's toy shop, dressed in Christmas red and green, wishing to find her little girl, fearful of being put into storage with the mean owl Abracadabra because she hasn't been sold this Christmas. Childless Mrs. Jones aches for something she almost doesn't allow herself to wish for. How these three wishes converge and are fulfilled during this wishing time of year make for a riveting story that never feels dated because it touches on themes that are universal to the human condition. This touching story is made more poignant by Barbara Cooney's dreamy, luminous illustrations, of which there are not enough, in my opinion.

I loved this story when I was a girl, and I'm so pleased my girls love it too. This is the first year Susanna sat through the whole reading of this long picture book.


  1. I put this book on hold at the library about 6 months ago, and I'm guessing the book must be lost because they never got it to me! Grrr.

  2. I haven't thought of this story in years. Thanks for reminding me about it. I will have to reread it now. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. It's a lovely story to revisit. May your heart find ease this holiday, Alex.