Review Blog

Mar 20 2013

Meet Ruby by Penny Matthews

cover image

Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Our Australian Girl series. Penguin, 2013. ISBN 978 0 14330742 6.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Historical novel. When Ruby goes to the Adelaide Zoo with her parents, she notices the humpies along the River Torrens, and men making tea and cooking food over camp fires. This along with one of her friends disappearing from their private school, the dismissal of their housekeeper, and her parent's beaten expressions, alerts the reader to the facts of the Great Depression and its impact on families in Australia.
Eventually Ruby's father, a builder, loses his business, and now unemployed, must sell their house and the possessions they no longer need. Ruby and her mother will be moving to the country to stay with an aunt and uncle and the odd cousin May, while he searches for work both in South Australia and Victoria.
Through this story of one young girl, as with the rest of the series, readers are able to assimilate the feeling of the times with ease. The front cover tells the readers that the story is set in 1930, and images shown on the covers alert the readers to snippets of information making the times loom large.
The very successful series, with four books in each set about one young girl, has teacher notes on the website, and each novel has information at the end of the book about the times, and two pages which whets the appetite for the next story. An extensive website accompanies this fine series.
Fran Knight

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