Welcome to another installment in our OPS Authors series. For our fourth and final installment of the 2021 - 2022 school year we'd like to spotlight a story by two OPS fourth grade students, Lea and Ruby. This creative pair would like to share their story, The Ongoing Ivy. Inspired by an illustration from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg, this short story was written by Lea and Ruby in library class. The Ongoing Ivy is mysterious and compelling, so give it a read and then check out our interview with the two authors!
The Ongoing Ivy
A few days earlier she had come into the library. She was new in town and did not know his legend. She had borrowed a book, she was about to leave when Mr.Linden pointed a creaky finger at her and said “Don’t trust the book, it has many secrets you should not know.” But that just intrigued her even more.
After a few nights she had really gotten into the book and was reading it every night at bedtime. One night she noticed a little green leaf stuck in the pages. She thought it was left by a past owner so she tried to tug it out. But the ivy only got longer. Merely from her own fright, she passed out.
Hours later the ivy had grown to a monstrous size and almost covered the whole book. The ivy ignored everything and started climbing up the girl's arm.
When she awoke she was surrounded by what she thought was a forest. She tried to get up and look around but she was tied to the bed by the ivy. With horror she realized she had fallen right into the book.The book was perfectly intact, but still completely covered in ivy. She vaguely remembered being someone named Jacky, but the memories were slipping by the minute. She tried to remember how to get home but she could barely remember anything about her past life. She tried quite hard but all she could remember was a book and a man named Mark Linden. She kept on getting flashes of past memories and thoughts. She snapped back to reality and realized she needed to focus on breaking out of the ivy. She thrashed about in the ivy, but it wouldn’t budge. She reached for a nearby branch from a tree and ripped off a sharp limb, and started to saw the ivy.
Finally what seemed like hours later she broke free from the clutches of the ivy. She slowly got up and scanned her surroundings for anything other than trees and bushes. She started to walk, but staggered and lost her balance. She realized she couldn’t remember how to walk! But as she was struggling to stand up, something glittery caught her eye so she went to go check it out and almost tripped again. Falling on her knees she picked up a shiny gold bookmark. Wait! she thought, she had seen this bookmark before. Oh yes it was the book mark from a book. What book? She remembered it was the book she was reading.
Suddenly, by holding the book and bookmark - each in one hand, the girl from her past life clicked back, like snapping in the last puzzle piece of a puzzle. Something whirled around her, pushing her this way and that. She got nervous now, wishing she was in her bed, even with her annoying (very, very annoying) twin siblings above taunting her telling she was “Jacky Frost” the ignorant queen of “Winter wonderland”.
She had not realized she was asleep until she awoke. She didn't ever figure out what happened that day. The only person who knows is old Mr. Mark Linden who understood her whole adventure was just a dream. He remembered reading that old book himself as a child. That was his book, and he’ll never forget writing it.
The Ongoing Ivy by Lea and Ruby is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Author Interview - Lea & Ruby
Your short story, The Ongoing Ivy, was inspired by an illustration from the Chris Van Allsburg book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. What was it like writing a story using details from a picture?
Lea - It was interesting using pictures and turning them into a story for a reader to read. It was fun finding the specific characteristics of the picture and turning them into words.
Ruby- Even though it was new, and fun, it was a little tricky because instead of looking for context clues which is what i’m used to, we were looking for clues in a picture.
What element of your story do you think was most inspired by your picture - characters, setting or plot? Why and how?
Lea - I think the part where she pulls out the leaf and it starts to grow on her was the main inspiration of the story and it came directly from the picture, not one of the made up parts.
Ruby - I think the part where she had fainted from her fright of the ivy most resembles the picture because even though at first glance I thought the girl in the picture was sleeping, we took it a different route and said she had been knocked out.
What was it like writing with a partner?
Lea - I had a lot of fun working with Ruby as my partner. She has a great imagination and worked with my ideas, and I’m glad we were able to find a way to use both of our ideas in the text.
Ruby - unlike other partners I have had, Lea didn’t just shut out my thoughts, she considered and added them in when we could, and she was patient.
Do you enjoy writing for the fun of it?
Lea - Yeah. I do. I am actually writing a book with my friend based on a note I found in my notebook.
Ruby - Yes I do make up stories for the fun, but most of my stories stay in my head so I can keep imagining and creating them.
What authors do you think inspire your writing?
Lea - I love the way Genevive Cogman writes; she uses great metaphors and similes. I have read all the books in one of her series, The Invisible Library series. She inspired me to try and use better and more sophisticated words and phrases.
Ruby - I love J.K Rowling( Harry Potter) because of how she includes mystery and even a little humor into her books, and I like C.S. Lewis for how he came up with a wild and crazy journey and fit it in with amazing writing.
Thanks to the Oradell PTA, author/illustrator Doug Salati will be visiting with our 3rd and 4th grade students on Thursday, May 26th. During his visit to OPS, Mr. Salati will share his newest book, Hot Dog, demonstrate how he illustrates his books, and answer questions from our students. If you'd like to find out more about Doug and his work, please visit his author presentation located at the bottom of our OPS Library Media Center website's home page.