- FISHING IN THE AIR
- The Castle Corona
- THE WANDERER
- The Boy on the Porch
- LOVE THAT DOG
- GRANNY TORRELLI MAKES SOUP
- A FINE, FINE SCHOOL
- The Great Unexpected
- Saving Winslow
- Absolutely Normal Chaos
- The Unfinished Angel
- Pleasing the Ghost
- Chasing Redbird
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. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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Ruby Holler Summary
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Ruby Holler Summary
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech.
Ruby Holler is a 2002 young adult novel by Sharon Creech, who is best known for her Newberry Award-winning work, Walk Two Moons. It is a tale of twins who have spent most of their lives in an orphanage at the hands of the orphanage’s abusive owners. Just as they are almost ready to run away from the orphanage, they are finally adopted into a family that cares about them. Although the book is geared towards young adults and the ending is fairly predictable, Philip Pullman from The Guardian remarks that Creech also “distributes her attention equally among the adults and the children,” adding more depth to the story.
The novel begins at the Boxton Creek Home, where thirteen-year-old twins Dallas and Florida have lived almost their whole lives. They were named haphazardly from an informational pamphlet about the state of Florida found in the box they were left in. Dallas watches a silver bird out his window and imagines where it will fly after he can’t see anymore. He pictures a green and lush world beyond the orphanage where he and his sister, Florida, can be free. His reverie is interrupted by one of the orphanage’s owners, Mr. Trepid, who tells Dallas to stop leaning out the window.
Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, believing that hard work is the best character builder, have many strict rules. Dallas and Florida are often in trouble for breaking these rules. Dallas is the quiet one, while Florida is more outgoing and gregarious. Florida usually gets harsher punishments for arguing. The home is understaffed and underfunded, with only one assistant. The longer children have been at the home, the worse they are treated. Since the twins have been there so long, they have to live in the back of the orphanage where they hardly have any space. They are kept separate from the other children so as not to teach them any “bad habits.”
The Trepids have never succeeded in adopting Florida and Dallas out of the orphanage, although they have tried. Dallas recalls memories of being sent to very bad families. Florida believes no one wants them because they are bad children; she still often has nightmares about living with their foster families. Dallas often gets sent to the “Thinking Corner,” a time-out spot, where he is forced to push down the memories of the bad homes. On one afternoon, just as Dallas is leaving the Thinking Corner, Florida is sent in after him because she accidentally stepped on some flowers. Dallas realizes that he and Florida need to make a plan to escape the orphanage.
The next town over from Boxton is Ruby Holler. Sairy and Tiller Morey, a couple in their sixties whose children left a long time ago, live in Ruby Holler. They often find themselves bored and wishing for a little excitement in their lives. One day, the Trepids approach Sairy and Tiller, saying they have traveling companions for them. The couple wants two young children to accompany them on two different trips. The catch is, they would have to split up. The Trepids introduce the twins to the Moreys; the twins cannot decide if they want to go or not. The Moreys take them to their house, and although it is pleasant, the twins remain wary of the Moreys.
Tiller is grumpy while Sairy is kind and seems to want them more. The twins start to adapt to life in Ruby Holler, but they are still worried they might get taken back to the orphanage again. Tiller wants to take Florida and Sairy wants to take Dallas on their trips, but first, they need to locate their savings to afford the trip. Before they can access their savings and leave for the trips, Dallas and Florida run away. The Moreys find them and instead of getting angry, compliment them for testing out the equipment they bought for the trips. The Moreys start to realize how abusive the Trepids were. They decide that Dallas and Florida should have smaller, practice trips first before going on their big trips.
The Trepids, hearing from the twins about the Moreys’ “understone” savings, ask their neighbor, a strange man named “Z,” to make a map of Ruby Holler so they can find the savings the Moreys have buried. Z feels uncomfortable about it but doesn’t say why. He takes his time making the map. He starts to feel protective of the twins, and wonders if he might be their father because he saw his ex-wife’s name on their birth certificates. Z comes up with some locations for the hidden funds, but he protects them so that Mr. Trepid doesn’t steal them. The Moreys and the twins go on a short trip down the river, but Tiller has a heart attack while they are out on their boat. Luckily, Florida knows a little CPR, and she is able to steady him. They take him to a hospital, where he starts to recover.
Z and the twins set up traps for the funds so that Mr. Trepid will get a surprise if he tries to find them. The Moreys’ biological children visit Ruby Holler, and when they see their father is in poor health, they suggest sending the twins back to the orphanage. Florida and Dallas overhear the conversation and decide to run away. In the end, they are lured back to the house by the smell of cooking.
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