RUBY IN THE RUINS by Shirley Hughes


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Young Ruby and her mother have survived the London Blitz together; now Ruby must adjust to the return of her father.

The first double-page spread situates readers emphatically: “1945 WORLD WAR II WAS OVER!” The text goes on to explain that men are now cleaning up rubble from bombed houses near Ruby and her mum’s home. The duo is seen walking along in front of tall, chain-link fencing, behind which are ruined buildings and busy men in construction garb. The text skillfully incorporates concepts such as “Blitz,” “air-raid shelter,” and “extended leave” into Ruby’s personal story. Young readers will easily empathize with both Ruby’s shyness when her long-absent father returns and her understated resentment of her father’s sudden, large presence in the home that had been only hers and her mum’s for so long. Ruby’s understanding mum allows her to explore outside with neighbor friends. An age-appropriate crisis ensues, creating a heartwarming ending to a sweet tale. Ruby, her family, and other primary characters are white, while large spreads include some people of color. The clothes and environmental details in the illustrations perfectly complement the text, as do the loose character drawings in the artist’s signature style, with the judicious addition of bright colors that pop against the postwar gray and sepia. Endpapers with apparently authentic wartime ads are a nice finishing touch.

A sweet celebration of familial love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 8th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9237-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2018


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