7Ivy's constant attempts to decipher the world and her creative interpretations of terms such as "real estate" and "twice removed" ("Ivy couldn't remember if that meant sent to jail two times or sent to two different jails") are often hilarious.
The road-trip mystery is fun, and the wordplay (the plot sickens) and the wry illustrations feed the slapstick as Ivy tries to keep everyone on the straight and narrow. Anyone bored with the usual tales of family history searches will relish this tall-tale comedy.
The children are believable characters even while the events unfolding around them are somewhat extraordinary. They love and trust one another even though Ivy recognizes Ray’s gullibility and naïveté. The relationship between the two children is developed by a true artist. The third-person narration with omniscience from Ivy’s point of view gives readers insight into a child who is eminently capable of putting a positive spin on anything while dreaming of the day when she can take over the world, or at least become Student of the Year. Coman has invented a family with as many grandiose dreams as character flaws; what holds them together is love as they work together to negotiate the minefield that is their life. Shepperson’s black-and-white illustrations sprinkled liberally throughout masterfully capture the emotions of the Fitts family.
—School Library Journal
Ivy and Ray live unconventional lives. They refer to their parents by first name, have family meetings that start with the singing of a Hawaiian Christmas carol, and live in an inherited mansion. Plans for their summer vacation include getting to the bottom of some family mysteries, and finding a long-lost relative, Gladys, who will have the answers. Ivy's constant suspicions and skepticism accompany them all the way. ... This book is a fun read.
—Library Media Connection