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Ivy and the Meanstalk
Dawn Lairamore
Holiday House, 227 pages

Ivy and the Meanstalk
Dawn Lairamore
Dawn Lairamore grew up all over the world in a military family. Eventually they settled in California, where she received a degree in English from the University of California, Davis. Then she worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house and later as a technical writer for a software conglomerate. She decided to return to school to get a paralegal degree.

Dawn Lairamore Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Ivy's Ever After

A review by Sandra Scholes

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The jacket art introduces us to Princess Ivy riding her trusty dragon, Elridge who is desperately trying to avoid the ravenous Meanstalk. Other than these two there is another equally funny character, Gizzle the Green, a Plant Mage. No, that's not quite right, he's a former Assistant Head Plant Mage at the Blooming Brightly Institute of Magical Flora, and he is key to the plot. Drusilla and Gizzle were once an item and she broke off their affair, leaving Gizzle feeling bad about the whole thing, and who can blame him.

As it is Drusilla's wedding day, there are many who have come to wish her well including her goat pet, Toadstool, who has the misfortune to be taken by a suspicious (and large) looking Meanstalk right out of the blue. There can be only one course of action to take and that is to trail after Toadstool in order to bring her back, but the Meanstalk is cunning and nasty, so it won't be easy.

This novel is the sequel to her pretty successful Ivy's Ever After where Ivy saved her people from a scheming prince, and in this one, Ardendale is at risk once again from the Meanstalk. This isn't the only risk though, and readers will be pleased that there are more horrors that await the princess and her comrades. Jack, isn't the sort of guy you call a comrade, not when he stole a harp and a hen that laid golden eggs, incurring the wrath of the giantess who inhabits the castle at the top of the Meanstalk -- she needs the harp back to cure her of her insomnia -- or else! Did I say the Meanstalk is a man-eater?

Dawn Lairamore gives the reader an updated comedy fantasy version of the original fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk complete with goat, fairy, flying punch bowl and Butterflies. Ivy doesn't realize that on losing Toadstool she has to undergo a lengthy journey up a man-eating plant, but it is one of the funniest adventures I've read yet, and one with such originality and comic outlook. Unlike many princesses in the fairy tale tradition, Ivy has a great spirit for adventure, and getting herself into trouble, knowing what she wants and is a heart breaker to all men. She enjoys life to the full and doesn't let anything, or anyone get in her way. That Jack had a far better fortune laid out for him than in the original tale is funny enough, but when you think about who he made his fortune stealing from it will make you laugh even more -- and she isn't happy now that she knows how bad Jack really is.

This is a fun blend of comedy and fairy tale fantasy that hits the spot -- The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson would laugh their socks off.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has over five years worth of experience writing for several magazines, blogs and websites including Quail Bell, The Chronicles, Bent, Love Romance Passion, Love Vampires, and Active Anime.


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