The World of Ivy

ivyIt is May 1940 as Ivy finishes her 5th grade year in Tucker’s Bayou of Arkansas. Ivy loves learning but hates school. She doesn’t fit in with those silly, prissy girls in their fancy lace dresses; she’d much rather wear her cutoff jeans and a white tee shirt. School is also a place where she has to endure Danny, a bully whose brothers are even more terrifying than he is.

But one summer afternoon Ivy’s world changes dramatically when she meets a new friend while fishing in her secret spot in the bayou. Esau cannot read or write because there is no school for colored children. In her efforts to teach Esau, Ivy receives help from a new teacher in town, and together they cross social barriers and stir up trouble in their small community. More importantly, through the eyes of Esau, Ivy sees a very different world from The World of Ivy.
Teacher’s Resources are listed below.


Using good questioning techniques before studying a subject or reading a book is a good way to generate interest. One good questioning routine (Harvard Project Zero) is to let students write on post-it notes what they think they know about the subject. The post-it notes can be put on a poster to refer to later after reading /studying has been done.

Then students can be asked what they would like to know about the subject. These questions are also written on post-it notes and put on a poster to guide the learning.

After reading or studying, it’s interesting to see how students change from what they first thought about the subject as compared to what they now know. Many times the ‘what I would like to know’ questions lead to enhanced interest and further research.


This glossary defines vocabulary as it is used in this book. The definitions given here are the ones that will be most helpful in reading Rebel in Petticoats. The page number in parenthesis refers to the page on which each word is introduced.

abolish – To get rid of; put an end to. (p. 9)
aggressor – A person or country that attacks another without cause (p. 96)
assault – A violent attack (p. 66)
balk – To stop short and refuse to go on (p. 122)
barge – A large boat with a flat bottom, used to carry freight on rivers and canals (p. 71)
bayou – A creek that moves slowly through a marsh or swamp (p. 40)
bramble – A plant, such as the blackberry, that has thorny stems and edible fruit (p. 48)
cinema – A motion picture theater (p. 107)
cloakroom – A closet or section of a school classroom where coats, sweaters, hats, etc. were hung (p. 124)
enslaved – To make a slave of (p. 9)
gingham – A cotton cloth that is usually woven in checks, stripes, or plaids (p. 110)
heifer – A young cow that has not given birth to a calf (p. 30)
horizon – The line along which the earth and the sky appear to meet (p. 135)
iodine – A brown liquid medication that contains iodine and is used to kill germs or wounds (p. 100)
kudzu – A fast-growing climbing vine, now widespread in the southern United States (p. 41)
menace – A threat or danger (p. 82)
ordeal – A very difficult or painful experience or test (p. 130)
petticoat – A skirt worn by girls and women as an undergarment (p. 110)
pine – To yearn deeply; suffer with longing (p. 73)
primer – A beginning reading textbook (p. 56)
segregation – The act of setting apart from others or from a main body or group (p. 9)
thicket – A group of shrubs or small trees that grow very close together (p. 95)


Words in context. Fill in the blanks with the best word.

1. The race car gained _______________ as it sped down the hill.
2. My brother tried to ____________ the cat to come down from the tree, but the cat would not move.
3. Mrs. Williams could not gain _________________ as she sobbed and wiped her eyes.
4. With patience and ___________________, you can finish a difficult job.
5. The parade will _____________ down Main Street, turn onto Maple Street, and end at the school stadium.
6. By the ________________ on Dad’s face, we could tell he had smashed his hand.
7. Angela showed a strong ___________________ to her grandmother in an old photograph she found.
8. The __________________ of finding a buyer for the old car looked bleak.
9. The ballerina was so dainty and _____________ that she looked even smaller on the big stage.
10. I suspect the ________________ who broke the window is hiding behind the bushes.
11. Don had practiced so hard on his guitar solo that he had a ______________ performance.
12. After much ________________ from his teammates, Rick finally stepped up to the microphone.
13. City planners used a ______________ parking lot to set up a large tent for the festival.
14. Try to _________________ your parents to go on the camping trip with us.
15. Kate appeared __________________ as she stood on stage in front of the large audience and could not speak.
16. To be a careful camper, you should ___________ the burning wood with a bucket of water.
17. Mom gave my brother a ____________ but firm nod to walk Grandmother to her chair.
18. Members of the church placed flowers at the base of the ______________ on the altar.
19. The _________________ stood in front of the judge and received his sentence for the crime.
20. The hunter felt the _______________ of the wounded bear as the animal charged furiously at him.

Vocabulary List
Check the words you are sure you can read and define.
____ coax
____ composure
____ crucifix
____ culprit
____ douse
____ flawless
____ goad
____ grimace
____ momentum
____ offender
____ persistence
____ persuade
____ petite
____ petrified
____ proceed
____ prospect
____ resemblance
____ subtle
____ vacant
____ wrath


Understanding the story. This is just a sampling of questions. Download the PDF for all questions. Circle the best answer.

1. When times got hard for Ivy, she always wanted to:
a. go fishing at the bayou
b. leave town.
c. fly to the moon.
d. live with Miss Dotty.

2. What was Ivy’s important decision about school?
a. She will make friends with Linda Sue.
b. She will quit.
c. She will change to a new school.
d. She will tell Mrs. Gilbert about Danny’s behavior.

3. At Mr. Schubert’s store, Danny frightened Ivy by:
a. twisting her wrist and threatening her.
b. jumping out from behind the counter.
c. grabbing Little Mary.
d. hitting her with a comic book.

4. The one thing in the bayou that terrified Ivy was:
a. alligators.
b. snapping turtles.
c. wasps.
d. snakes.

5. How did Ivy and Esau meet?
a. Esau took Ivy’s hidden fishing pole.
b. Esau got lost and ended up in Ivy’s yard.
c. Little Mary pulled Esau out of the bushes.
d. Little Mary barked to give away Esau’s hiding place.

6. After Esau’s first reading lesson, Ivy was pleased to see Esau:
a. writing his name in the mud.
b. reading from her favorite book.
c. trying to spell the names of his family.
d. writing the alphabet on his tablet.

7. In the Red Rover game, Linda Sue:
a. called Ivy over, but Ivy did not break the line.
b. broke Ivy and Ellen’s grip.
c. fell when Ivy and Ellen dropped their grip.
d. was caught by Ivy and Ellen’s tight grip.

8. Ivy and Esau’s plans for the Fourth of July picnic included:
a. meeting to watch the fireworks.
b. picking up Esau in Grandpa J’s truck.
c. eating lunch together.
d. playing a trick on Linda Sue.

9. What would be the best news headline for what happened the night of the
Fourth of July picnic?
a. Boys Disrupt Picnic Celebration
b. A Truckload of Fireworks Explode
c. Two Children Cause Trouble
d. A Bad Prank Backfires

10. After fighting with Danny, Esau had:
a. a fish hook in his ear.
b. a gash over his left eye.
c. to go to see a doctor.
d. to get five stitches in his leg.

Character Analysis:PDF

Write out differences and similarities in characters.
A Closer Look at Esau:
• List 3 qualities that would make Esau a good friend.
• List 5 adjectives that would best describe Esau.
• Draw a symbol that would best represent Esau.
• Explain why you chose this symbol.

A Closer Look at Ivy:
• List 3 qualities that would make Ivy a good friend.
• List 5 adjectives that would best describe Ivy.
• Draw a symbol that would best represent Ivy.
• Explain why you chose this symbol.

Compare & Contrast Characters:PDF



Stretch Your Thinking.
Complete the analogies.
1. River is to bayou as mountain is to ________hill________.
2. Friend is to kind as bully is to __________mean________.
3. Black is to white as integration is to _______segregation_________.
4. Mrs. Walker is to teacher as Grandpa J is to ____farmer_________.
5. Beagle is to dog as copperhead is to _________snake_________.
6. Cross is to crucifix as truck is to ____________vehicle_________.
7. Tucker’s Bayou is to Arkansas as Memphis is to _________Tennessee__________.
8. Mrs. Walker is to Ivy as Ivy is to _________Esau___________.
S-t-r-e-t-c-h your thinking even more.
What is the relationship in
analogy #8?
Relationship: ____________________________________ is to
Create an original analogy that has the same relationship as analogy
___________________________________________ is to

Who Said That:PDF

In this game students draw a card with a quote on it and then match the quote with the speaker. Characters from The World of Ivy are posted where students can see the list. A character can say more than one quote. Students should be allowed to refer to the book if they have difficulty remembering the specific quote. Download PDF for cards.
List of characters:
Granpa J
Miss Dotty
Mrs. Walker

Book Report Guide:PDF

Paragraph 1:
The book’s title is _____________________________, and it is written by ____________________________. The main characters are ______________________________________________________________________________. The setting takes place in _________________________________________________________________. The genre (type of story) is__________________________________.
Paragraph 2: Write a summary of what happened in the first part of the story.
Paragraph 3: Write a summary of what happened in the middle part of the story.
Paragraph 4: Write a summary of what happened in the last part of the story. Be careful not to give away the ending.
Paragraph 5: My favorite character was __________________________ because ____________________________________________________________.
My favorite part of the book was ________________________________________________________________________________.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes _________________________________________________________________________________.