Book #10: Down in the holler

Fast facts:

Book title: “Ruby Holler”

Author: Sharon Creech

Genre/Audience: Fiction; children

Rating: As a children’s book, a solid 8/10; as an easy breezy summer read, also an 8/10

Worth the read?: Yes, especially if you are nostalgic for warmer weather!

I read this book more than a week ago and have intended to blog it for several days now.  The hold-up was simple—I kept forgetting to take a photo of the book outside in sunny weather. This book calls for such a photo treatment; it made me so excited for the hot summer sun, a time of the year I usually dread!

I came across this book on a recent Goodwill trip and couldn’t resist. The author, Sharon Creech, wrote my most beloved book from elementary school, Walk Two Moons. It was the first book that I ever reread and remains the only book I have read more than twice. With such a high bar set by Walk Two Moons (a Newbery Medal winner), I had high hopes for Ruby Holler.

By no means did I expect this book to upset what is likely my favorite book of all time. Perhaps the sheer brilliance of its sister is why I gave this one an 8/10. After finishing it, it felt like a 10/10 book. But then I thought about the depth of some other children’s books I’ve read before, and I realized that Ruby Holler just wasn’t quite as deep and didn’t accomplish quite as much.

The book contains excellent description, a constantly moving plot, and dynamic characters. The cover of the book, featuring a cartoonish log cabin surrounded by trees, is a perfect window into the atmosphere created in the book. The main characters, twin orphans and their new, grandparent-aged foster parents, are sweet, endearing and relatable. They experience many sweet, summer-infused adventures that reminded me of a time when I, too, was carefree in the sweltering heat of summer. This is a book I will keep around and someday read to my children.

Mostly, this book made me miss summer and all the outdoor adventures that open up when it’s not below freezing outside. Since it’s a children’s book, there were some recurring vocabulary words and the plot was predictable from an adult’s point of view. But I don’t mind that; honestly, at this point in my life, I’m soaking it up as I look back on the books and authors I connected to as a child. There’s a fresh magical feeling to these books now. Even though I didn’t read Ruby Holler as a kid, I can still place myself back in time and remember parts of life where I would have loved it.

Maybe, too, this nostalgia comes from my recent find of the first book in The Boxcar Children series. Those books were my life in second grade, and I can literally remember the classroom where I used to read them. It was in that classroom that I learned how to spell “because.” (That’s a pretty big word for an 8-year-old.)

Anyway, this book was no challenge, but I didn’t want it to be. It was everything I hoped for, and now that I think about it, I’ll probably reread Walk Two Moons soon. That book still gets to me with each new reading. I think I’ve read it five times, and soon it will be six. Maybe when I’m home next week I’ll spend some time reading these books from my childhood. What a great way to spend spring break!

This reflection I’m experiencing now assures me that Ruby Holler was definitely worth my time.

Until next time, friends!