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Ruby Holler Paperback – April 24, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Having suffered through a string of appalling foster homes (the spitting Cranbepps; scary, toothless Mr. Dreep who locked them in his cellar; and the mean Burgerton boys), 13-year-old orphan Dallas and his twin sister, Florida, have pretty much given up on ever finding a happy home. So when an eccentric older couple enters their lives, providing such adventures as a river expedition, a treasure hunt (of sorts), and a whole lot of remarkable meals: "beat-the-blues broccoli," "anti-cranky crumpets," and "getting-used-to-kids- again stew," the twins take a while to warm up. Florida's language teems with outrageous, telling negativity--everything is "putrid"--and even dreamy Dallas is inclined to bouts of doubt. But warm up they do, to the continual delight of readers of all ages.

Sharon Creech, author of Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and Newbery Honor book The Wanderer, is in fine form with her hilarious yet poignant novel about downtrodden siblings who refuse to be squished altogether. The perfectly happy ending is somewhat predictable, but readers who have fallen in love with each quirky character won't mind a bit. (Ages 8 to 13) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The characters introduced here two abandoned children, their villainous guardians and a kindly country couple might have stepped out of a Dickens novel, but as Creech (Love that Dog) probes beneath their facades, the characters grow more complex than classic archetypes. Florida and her brother Dallas, raised in an orphanage run by the cold-hearted Trepids, rely on each other rather than grownups for support. They become suspicious when Mr. Trepid informs them that they are going to a place called Ruby Holler to accompany old Mr. and Mrs. Morey on separate vacations. Florida is to be Mr. Tiller Morey's companion on a canoe trip; Dallas is to help Mrs. Sairy Morey hunt down an elusive bird. Readying for the trips proves to be a journey in itself as the Moreys, Florida and Dallas make discoveries about one another as well as themselves in a soothing rural environment. 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. Although conflicts emerge, readers will have little doubt that all will end well for the children and the grandparently Moreys. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 660 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060560150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060560157
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer Robinson on June 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Ruby Holler is the story of "the trouble twins", 13-year-old Dallas and Florida, who have spent their lives living in the dilapidated Boxton Creek Home. They've had many failed foster parent experiences, some terrifying, some grim, and they are very wary of adults. They remind me a bit of Tony and Tia Malone in Escape to Witch Mountain (another pair of twins who seem unable to keep out of trouble, and who no one seems to want).

An elderly couple asks the twins to come and live with them in their country home in Ruby Holler (named for the red maple trees in the fall), to help with a project. The twins by this point have serious trust issues, and keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. But Tiller and Sairy Morey are different from anyone that the twins have encountered before. Together, the four embark on a series of adventures in the lush, rural Ruby Holler.

This book reminded me a little bit of Louis Sachar's Holes, with the bleakness of the Boxton Creek Home, and the quirkiness of the Moreys (although the main setting is the exact opposite of the setting in Holes). Throughout the book, we learn about the various other homes that the twins have lived in, gradually coming to understand their prickliness and acting out. In parallel, we watch Dallas and Florida, and Sairy and Tiller, gradually changing one another. It's a story about love and patience and second chances, and suspense and adventure, too.

There are many small things to like about the book. I love the way that Sairy and Tiller are with each other, two halves of a whole, with their own unusual endearments. I smiled at the way that Dallas has of painting a positive future with words, even when things seem bleak.
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My amazoo pen-pal Judy was right. This is a book about Love and Decency getting the best of Ugliness and Greed, and although it amounts to a moral lesson, it's a heap of fun to read, even for a skeptical grown-up who no longer has a 'young reader' in his household but who remembers happy hours dawdling with his son, reading Roald Dahl and Gary Paulsen by trading chapters. That's the shelf this book belongs on, alongside Dahl and Paulsen. Come to think of it, the old guy Tiller who lives in Ruby Holler is probably a spitting image of me. Tiller and his wife Sairy have raised a family, sent their kids out into the wide world, and now are just a tad restless in their 'empty nest' in Ruby Holler, a spot so charmingly rustic it might be the original Garden of Eden. Tiller and Sairy have the hare-brained urge to go on separate adventures, just for once, so they temporarily requisition the Twins, Florida and Dallas, for companionship. The Twins have lived all their thirteen years in the saddest, meanest orphanage this side of the Brothers Grimm, under the cold-hearted care of the Trefids, who hate their work. They've bounced out and back from foster homes so often that they've become cynical about all adults and convinced of their own worthlessness. They're labeled the Trouble Twins, but in fact 'trouble' is less apt for them than 'intrepid,' as the story will show.

The writing is deft and simple, yet not so simple that it's cloying. I'm reminded in a backwards way of the Lemony Snicket "Unfortunate Events" books, also about intrepid sibling orphans assaulted by rapacious adults. Whereas the Snicket books are coyly pretentious -- yes, funny but disingenuously snarky to the point of nastiness -- Sharon Creech gives us a pair of kids who are edgy smart-alecks when they need to be but capable of responding to decency with warmth. I think I'll set this book aside for my son to read to his kids some day.
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There are not words strong enough to express what a wonderful and joyous book this is! "Ruby Holler" is the most rewarding book I've read in ages. In fact, it could be described as a manual for excellent parenting and excellent living. What a great reading experience!

I have fairly recently discovered Sharon Creech and her delightful books, including Love That Dog and Hate That Cat [HATE THAT CAT -LIB] [Library Binding]. She was awarded the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons (the Newbery is awarded to the best of older children's literature every year).

"Ruby Holler" itself won the Carnegie Medal for Children's Literature. Frankly, I would like to stand outside big chain stores, outlet malls, and the like with boxes and boxes of this book to hand out. If I could put this book into the hands and hearts of every adult with children, maybe we could eliminate emotional and psychological child abuse. It has long been my personal thesis that the ills of a country lie in child abuse and the anger that develops from it. But that's another story for another place.

"Ruby Holler" is the story of fraternal twins, Dallas and Florida, who live in this horrible orphanage and are taken out from time to time into foster homes by horrible adults who abuse them then return them. Part of the journey of the book is the revelation of the kinds of abuse they experience, from being thrown into a totally black cellar with spiders and rats to the devilish treatment by a couple's larva-from-hell, picture-perfect little girl.
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