As they pulled onto a narrow dirt road, Sairy said, "You are now entering Ruby Holler, the one and only Ruby Holler! Your lives are never going to be the same -- " Dallas and Florida have been dubbed the "trouble twins." They have been shuffled between foster families and orphanages all their lives, longing only for a loving place to call home, though mistrustful that one exists for the likes of them. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric, older couple whose children are grown and long gone, and they're each restless for one more big adventure while their bodies are still spry enough to paddle a river or climb a mountain. Ruby Holler is the beautiful, mysterious place that changes all of their lives forever. When Tiller and Sairy invite Dallas and Florida to stay with them and keep them company on their adventures, the magic of the Holler takes over, and the two kids begin to think that maybe, just maybe the old folks aren't so bad....
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.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
The Silver Bird
Dallas leaned far out of the window, his eyes fixed on a bird flying lazily in the distance. Sun slanted through the clouds above, as if a spotlight were aimed on the bird.
A silver bird, Dallas thought. A magical silver bird.
The bird turned suddenly, veering south over the small town of Boxton, toward the faded yellow building and the window from which Dallas leaned. Dallas stretched his arm out. "Here!" he called. "Over here!"
The bird swooped toward him and then rose up over the building, high, high into the air, over the alley and the train tracks and the dried-up creek. Dallas watched it rise on the air currents over one brown hill and then another, until it disappeared.
He tried to follow it in his mind. He imagined it flying on until it spied a narrow green valley, a scooped-out basin with a creek looping and winding its way through the center. He pictured it swooping down from the sky into this basin in the hills, to this place where cool breezes drifted through the trees, and where the creek was so clear that every stone on its bottom was visible.
Maybe the silver bird had flown home.
"Get out of that window!" a voice shouted from below. "No leaning out of windows!"
Dallas leaned a little farther out and called down to Mr. Trepid. "Did you see that silver bird "
"Get out of that window, or you're going to join your sister down here pulling weeds," Mr. Trepid threatened.
Dallas spotted his sister, Florida, inching her way along the sidewalk, wrenching clumps of weeds and grass and dirt from the ground.
"Putrid weeds," Florida snarled, heaving a clod of dirt over her shoulder.
Dallas watched as the clod landed on Mr. Trepid's back and as the man scuttled over to Florida and whacked her on the head. Dallas wished the silver bird would return and snare Mr. Trepid and carry him high up over the town and then drop him, splat, in the middle...