Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
HarperTrophy, 2002. 978-0-06-056015-7.
Synopsis: Dallas and Florida Carter have been labeled ‘trouble twins’ in the Boxton Creek Home where they were found by the Trepids.Dallas is clumsy and a daydreamer, whileFlorida can be loud and smart-alecky. Having been in and out of terrible foster homes since they were five, the two are convinced that they will be in Boxton forever. Then they meet Sairy and Tiller. Sairy and Tiller are going on separate vacations and want to take each of the twins with them.Florida andDallas are taken to their home in Ruby Holler, where they are treated with respect and kindness and given great food to eat. Sairy and Tiller don’t even punish them if they get in trouble. The twins wonder if this is too good to be true or if they should get out while they can.
Why I picked it up: I loved Walk Two Moons, Bloomability, and Love That Dog once upon a time and Creech is one of my favorite authors.
Why I finished it: This story was part mystery, part finding a sense of self, and Creech mixes the two wonderfully.Dallas andFlorida are just like most other teens trying to determine who they are and where they belong in the world. Reading about their terrible experiences in the other foster homes, it helps explain who they are, why they are the way they are, and how moving to Ruby Holler is changing them into more trusting individuals. Sairy and Tiller are an older couple who already have grown children and their methods of parenting make the reader realize that there is such a thing as ‘cool parents’ in young teen/teen literature. It was also fun to see the personalities ofDallas andFlorida reflected in Sairy and Tiller and how the twins use these older people to help develop a sense of right and wrong and strengthen their belief that kindness and kind people do exist.
Other related materials: Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff; Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff; Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis; Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes; Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan; Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech; Bloomability by Sharon Creech