Great Illustrated Books

Ruby Holler

By Sharon Creech

HarperTrophy, 2004
Pages : 336
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 9780756919405

At thirteen, twins Florida and Dallas are the oldest kids in the ramshackle Boxton Creek Home for Children, a place where rules are king. The two siblings—daydreamy Dallas and his spitfire of a sister, Florida—have broken all those rules many times, spending untold hours in the damp, dark, cobwebby basement in the “Thinking Corner,” scrubbing floors, peeling potatoes, and pulling weeds. The two are called the Trouble Twins by Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, the venal and larcenous couple who run the orphanage. Dallas and Florida dream about catching a freight train to a friendly, beautiful place that surely must exist somewhere. Twenty miles away, in a lush hidden valley called Ruby Holler, sixty-year-old Sairy and Tiller live in a small cabin with no modern conveniences. Their four kids have grown up and moved away. They take in the twins as foster kids, and give them things the two have never experienced: love, good food, a safe place to be. While the twins think Sairy and Tiller are crazy and plan to run away, the Trepids are waiting for the chance to find and steal Sairy and Tiller’s buried life savings.

This is a quirky, funny character study from an omniscient narrator that gives us a view into all four of the main characters’ personalities, along with some adventure and danger, and the awful, awful Trepids. If your kids don’t know how good they have it, they’ll certainly empathize with and cheer on Dallas and Florida.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Creech, Sharon. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0439649315

Creech, Sharon. Love That Dog. HarperCollins, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0064409599

Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN-13: 978-0060560133

Creech, Sharon. The Wanderer. HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN-13: 978-0064410328

Cushman, Karen. Rodzina. Clarion, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0440419938

Dahl, Roald. The BFG. Farrar, 1982. ISBN-13: 978-0679428138

Ibbotson, Eva. Journey to the River Sea. Dutton, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0439567633

Levine, Gail Carson. Dave at Night. HarperCollins, 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0064407472

Paterson, Katherine. The Great Gilly Hopkins. HarperCollins, 1978. ISBN-13: 978-0064402019

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0439362139

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley. Gib Rides Home. Delacorte, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0440412571

Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee. Little, Brown, 1990. ISBN-13: 978-0316809061

Tolan, Stephanie. Surviving the Applewhites. HarperCollins, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0064410441

Wallace, Barbara Brooks. Peppermints in the Parlor. Atheneum, 1980. ISBN-13: 978-0689874178

Critics have said

"The perfectly happy ending is somewhat predictable, but readers who have fallen in love with each quirky character won't mind a bit."
Emilie Coulter,

"This poignant story evokes a feeling as welcoming as fresh-baked bread. The slow evolution of the siblings who are no angels parallels the gradual building of mutual trust for the Moreys. The novel celebrates the healing effects of love and compassion."
Beth Amos, The Barnes & Noble Review

"Such charm and humor is encapsulated in this romp with its melodramatic elements of treasure and orphans, that it feels perfectly reasonable to want it to go on and see what happens next."
Kirkus Reviews