Review Blog

Apr 13 2011

Ruby by Colin Thompson

cover image

Random House, 2011. ISBN 978 1742750897.
Picture book. The story of the Austin 7 is told alongside that of a small family who lives in the roots of a tree. As a couple picnics by their tree, the little people gather food from their picnic basket only to find themselves trapped in the car when the couple leaves. The car, an Austin 7, motors along the road to home, and here the little family has time to search the little car with more success. They find a myriad of things to pore over and discuss, to look at and dissect, but all the while they are looking for the number to undo the lock of the picnic basket in which their son, Kevin, is locked. Readers too will search for these numbers, as they see numerous numbers in the minute drawings on each page. The puzzle will keep them entertained as they read the story. Along the top of each page is a history of the red Austin 7, from its first appearing out of the factory in 1934, to it travels through England and then overseas, to its final destination, where it is dumped in a farmer's paddock, rained upon, nested in by chooks, only to be found and valued once more. Then it is restored to its former glory and put on show. The car has come full circle.
This is a warm story of the evolution of the car in people's lives, the fashion for different car makes and the warmth of the family who now owns it. Readers will have much to discuss and find a renewed interest in the Austin 7.
Fran Knight

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