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Ruby Holler

Ruby Holler

4.5 266
by Sharon Creech

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"Trouble twins" Dallas and Florida are orphans who have given up believing there is such a thing as a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the beautiful, mysterious Ruby Holler, but they're restless for one more big adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the


"Trouble twins" Dallas and Florida are orphans who have given up believing there is such a thing as a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the beautiful, mysterious Ruby Holler, but they're restless for one more big adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the Holler, and the magic of the place takes over. Two pairs of lives grow closer, and are changed forever.

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the UK's 2003 Carnegie Medal

The Barnes & Noble Review
From Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech comes a heartwarming tale about second chances, unconditional love, and the true meaning of family. With wry humor, a quirky cast of characters, and a setting that is as magical as it is beautiful, Creech examines what happens when two pairs of very different people come together to form a family.

Ruby Holler is the name of a wondrous place that an older couple named Tiller and Sairy call home. However, "home" for Dallas and Florida, twin orphans who are known for their troublemaking tendencies, is the nearby Boxton Creek Home, a place run by a crusty couple with a very long list of stringent rules. The twins have managed to leave the orphanage a few times when foster families have taken them in, but things never seem to work out, and they always get sent back. With each return, their lives become more restricted and their hopes for a successful adoption dim.

They have no reason to think that things will be any different when Tiller and Sairy adopt them and take them to their home in the Holler. In fact, things might well be worse, since Sairy and Tiller are planning separate vacations, each of them intending to take a twin along. The only thing Florida and Dallas feel they can truly depend upon is each other, and at the thought of being separated -- even for a short while -- they panic and make plans to run away from their newfound home. But their plans get changed when they begin to realize that Sairy and Tiller aren't like all the other adults they've known.

Creech enriches her story with hidden treasures, discovered secrets, and several adventures. Her characters are likable though flawed, and their ever-changing emotions are subtly -- and often humorously -- conveyed. But as the story unfolds, it soon becomes clear that the most important element of all is the magic that's afoot in Ruby Holler -- a wondrous and powerful magic called love. (Beth Amos)

Publishers Weekly
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.
Children's Literature
Dallas and Florida, dubbed the "trouble twins" by various caregivers, have had a rough life so far: they were abandoned as newborns on the orphanage steps, farmed out to foster care for manual labor, made to sleep in vermin-infested cellars and—worst of all—have always been rejected and returned like unsatisfactory merchandise. They are the oldest residents of the Boxton Creek Home, run by the Trepids (interesting pun). Along come Tiller and Sairy Morey, an older, empty-nest couple who live in Ruby Holler, a truly wonderful place. But is it too late? Will Dallas and Florida be able to accept kind treatment and great home cooking with their lifelong distrust of adults? Add to this the vaudevillian, greedy Trepids who get wind of the Moreys' "understone" money stash plus the shadowy figure of "Z," a neighbor of Tiller and Sairy—friend or foe? The characters are lively, with the interaction between Florida and Tiller, and Dallas and Sairy heartwarming. However, the plot is so unabashedly Dickens-like, I keep expecting Dallas to pause somewhere in theses pages and say, "Please, Sir, I want some more." The first sentence not only contains a grammar mistake ("were" not "was"), but defies every English teacher's rule: show readers what the characters are like, don't tell them. Young readers will enjoy this book; however, I expected more from a two-time Newbery author. 2002, HarperCollins, Ages 10 to 14.
—Judy Crowder
Dallas and Florida are known at their awful orphanage as the "trouble twins," but the 13-year-old boy and girl are offered a chance for a different kind of life when an elderly couple invites them to come along on their adventures. This kindly couple, Tiller and Sairy, have always lived in Ruby Holler, "a lush, green hidden valley," but Sairy fantasizes about bird watching on an exotic island while her husband Tiller wants to take a canoe trip. They hope the children will be their companions as they prepare to separate for the first time for these trips. Initially suspicious, daydreaming Dallas and feisty, outspoken Florida come to care for the loving, tolerant couple and to adore their new home in Ruby Holler. Meanwhile, the director of the orphanage plans to steal Tiller and Sairy's life savings while they're gone, enlisting the help of a mysterious neighbor. Trial runs of the adventures nearly end in tragedy, but the mysterious neighbor—who might be the twins' father—helps to ensure a happy outcome, and the couple and the twins realize that they belong together in Ruby Holler. This fairy tale of sorts incorporates many of the themes that Creech has explored in her other YA novels, like the Newbery Medal-winning Walk Two Moons and Newbery Honor book The Wanderer: the longing for lost parents, the importance of a journey as a means of self-discovery. This will appeal to younger YAs, middle school as well as upper elementary students, who will enjoy the humor and the escapades as Dallas and Florida, Tiller and Sairy adjust to life together, and they will appreciate the happy ending of this sweet, deliberately rather old-fashioned tale. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for juniorhigh school students. 2002, HarperCollins, 310p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
This is a fast moving novel about an exceptional relationship between two older, adventuresome country souls named Tiller and Sairy Morey and twin orphans from the Boxton Creek Home for Children, Dallas and Florida Carter. The home, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, seems to be little more than a ramshackle parking place for the thirteen children who live there. The Trepids have mapped out a large number of spirit-numbing rules and regulations. However, as a character later points out, not everything is on maps. Tiller and Sairy Morey temporarily adopt the twins, and take them to Ruby Holler, a magical place named for the brilliant fall colors of the maple trees. The Moreys live like pioneers without modern conveniences, but with a respect for the land and a creative way of carving birds and boats out of wood chips. The spunky, lively twins are transformed by being softened up with good food and Tiller and Sairy's loving and gentle ways. They assist each other in adventures featuring physical challenges, treachery, and treasure maps. Recommended for young readers who love fantasy, adventure, and just plain whimsy. 2002, HarperCollins, 310 pp.,
— Tom MacLennan
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Orphaned twins Dallas and Florida have resigned themselves to living within the confines of the Boxton Creek Home for Children. It's a loveless existence. The Trepids, owners and "rule enforcers" of the home, target the brother and sister at every opportunity and all of the prospective adoptive parents have returned them to the orphanage. Eventually the children are sent to act as temporary companions to an eccentric older couple who live in Ruby Holler, and there they find love and acceptance. While the plot is predictable, the story weaves in an interesting mix of mystery, adventure, and humor, along with age-old and modern problems. Creech does a fine job of developing the unique personalities and the sibling relationship, and the children's defense mechanisms (Dallas's dreamy escapism and Florida's aggression) figure prominently in the interplay among the characters. The text is lively and descriptive with an authentic, if somewhat mystical, rural ambience. This entertaining read from a first-rate author will not disappoint Creech's many fans.-Robyn Ryan Vandenbroek, Elgin Court Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The trouble twins, Dallas and Florida, are given the opportunity to take a three-month vacation from the horrible orphanage that has been home. An elderly couple, Sairy and Tiller of Ruby Holler, wants help. Tiller would like to build a boat and explore the river Rutabago with Florida, while Sairy dreams of visiting far-off Kangadoon to see a red-tailed rocking bird, but needs Dallas's assistance. Dreamy Dallas and Feisty Florida have always counted on each other and dread parting. As the twins naturally strew trouble wherever they go, they also reveal the horrors of their past-but gradually, all four characters draw together. The charm of Sairy's acceptance of whatever awful thing the twins do is matched by her desire to see what she's like when Tiller isn't there. Despite ominous signs that the separation of both pairs may be dire, they persist. Adding tension, Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, who run the nursing home, hire Z (their only Ruby Holler neighbor) to discover the buried funds that will finance the upcoming expeditions. Tiller, is a grumbler, but it only hides his soft heart. Dallas and Florida both have a hard time believing that anywhere in the universe can be as wonderful as Ruby Holler, and they try to remain committed to their original plan to catch the freight train and escape. Various tidbits about the origins of the twins tumble into the plot in haphazard ways, developing that mystery. Such charm and humor is encapsulated in this romp with its melodramatic elements of treasure and orphans, that it feels perfectly reasonable to want it to go on and see what happens next. Creech ends with the readers more in the know than the characters concerned, making for a slightly unsatisfyingfinish. Still: an altogether engaging outing. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
660L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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...

Ruby Holler. Copyright © by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sharon Creech has written twenty books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler.

Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, “lured there by our grandchildren,” Creech says. “Moo was inspired by our mutual love of Maine and by our granddaughter’s involvement in a local 4-H program. We have all been enchanted with the charms of cows.”


Brief Biography

Pennington, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
July 29, 1945
Place of Birth:
Cleveland, Ohio
B.A., Hiram College, 1967; M.A., George Mason University, 1978

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Ruby Holler 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 266 reviews.
JANICE JOHNSON More than 1 year ago
This was the first nook I read by Sharon Creech and I loved it. This book was so good that it inspired me to read other books by Sharon Creech.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book and i would reccomend it for all ages. It is a great book that even aadults can enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for fifth graders and fourth graders. I read this book three times and it gets better and better every single time I read Ruby Holler. This book is recomened to many ages in fourth of fifth graders. I have recomened this book to many people in my class last year and also this year and I also recomened this book to you too and to other people that have nooks and please recomened to other people that you know and also to people that ae related to you. And YES THIS TOOK A LONG LONG TIME TO TYPE ALL OF THIS ON MY NOOK? THANK YOU. :) (;
Alen More than 1 year ago
"Sairy told me in the fall, all those maple trees turn scarlet red, and all those red leaves look like a million bazillion of rubies dangling on the trees.-." Ruby Holler is an amazing place, creeping with life, and most important of all, it is the place where the main characters, Dallas and Florida's lives change forever. Even though, Dallas and Florida are twins, they are very different in many ways. While Dallas is quiet and dreamy, Florida is loud and outrageous. Florida's hot-tempered personality usually leads her to huge trouble in the dreadful orphanage Dallas and Florida live in. Their life in the orphanage is deficient and the managers, Mr. Trepid and Mrs. Trepid makes it worse. The Trepids are greedy people who don't care anything about the children in the orphanage. Florida and Dallas had been removed and send into dozens of homes. Now, they are sick of it, and they decide to catch a night train and run away. However, before they could leave, they are sent to Ruby Holler to an elderly couple, Sairy and Tiller, who turns out to be very different from all the people they were sent to. Their only wish is to be loved and to find a place where they could call it home, and for once, maybe, they could find it in Ruby Holler. I will recommend this fun enjoyable realistic fiction book to every young students. It doesn't have any fantasy, but Ruby Holler is like a magical place, mysterious and full of wonderful things. It has a wonderful story of wanting to be loved and how they achieve this goal.
Heather Jones More than 1 year ago
Who ever said its stupid is wrong! This book is awesome and i really enjoyed it. I highly recomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the 1st book by sharon creech i read. Simply amazing! I'm usually read fantasy with action but i still loved this. It is such a sweet story. It's a great read for kids and adults!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it i read it in 4th grade and fell in love with it please if you get the chance to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book. I recomend it for all ages. The first time I read it I fell in love with it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iam reading this book and i love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So sweet and sad. Made me cry with sadness and happiness. I love Sharon Creech's books, they are so amazing! Overall, this book is sweet and shows love and understanding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book and I would recommend it to anybody!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ruby holler is about Dallas and Florida. Dallas and Florida are orphans and have been rejected by so many terrible familys its no wonder why they dont trust Tiller and Sariy(but if you in there shoes wouldnt you). They are all suppost to go on trips but dallas and florida have differnet plans they want to leave on the night train. But they endup doing not that. My bff has been trying to get me to read this for years and i am glad that i finally did. I totally recomend this book to all ages. It is such a great book. I would feel sorry if you didnt read this book. I so deserves way more than five stares. It could have 9875633412046362945848464926991638945.99999999 stares but i can only mark five anyway happy reading -your fav nerd :)
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Thirteen-year-old Dallas and Florida Carter are orphaned "trouble twins" who live in Boxton Creek Home for Children run by greedy and neglectful Mr. and Mrs. Trepid. Tiller and Sairy Morey, a 65-year-old couple who live in nearby Ruby Holler, want to “borrow” the twins for a while to go on adventures with them, Florida with Tiller on a Rutagabo River boat trip and Dallas with Sairy on a visit to the island of Kangadoon. When they go back into town to pick up supplies, the twins accidentally tell Mr. Trepid about the Moreys’ “understone funds” hidden on their property, and he hires a shady character known only as “Z” to locate the money so that he can steal it. However, “Z” is also a neighbor and friend to Tiller and Sairy. Meanwhile, the twins, afraid that the Moreys might turn out to be mean like some of their previous foster parents, take all their new gear and run away. What will happen to the “Z” and money? What will happen to Dallas and Florida? Will they ever get to go on their trip? This is a sweet, old-fashioned type of story. As to language, there is nothing worse than a few common euphemisms (blasted, heck, golly, dang) and one use of the word “Lord” as an interjection. The biggest red flag might be the treatment which Dallas and Florida received at Boxton Creek, where Florida was often whacked by Mr. Trepid, and their abusive foster homes--the spitting Cranbepps; scary, toothless Mr. Dreep who locked them in his cellar; and the mean Burgerton boys (told by means of flashbacks). The neglect at the orphanage was so severe that it resulted in the death of another one of the orphans named Joey. This part of the story may be a little too intense for some younger readers. Also some people may not like the portrayal of foster parents and social workers in the book, but the fact is that these kinds of things do actually happen. However, in general the developing relationship between the twins, who have given up believing that there is such a thing as a loving home, and the eccentric, lonely, but grandparent-like older couple whose own children have grown up and left home is pleasant to follow as it demonstrates the healing effects of love and compassion. I distinctly did not like Creech’s Newbery Medal winning Walk Two Moons because it discusses themes which I believe are not appropriate for children. But I enjoyed Ruby Holler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book!childeren of all ages can read it.it really touched my heart!i would totally recommened it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVA! Orphans Dallas and Flordia travel to the land of Ruby Holler to start a new life with quiet Tiller and eccentric Sairy... who long for their own children that are all grown up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good kids book but i didnt know that before buying or i would have passed it up. Nook cheats its authors and readers by not stating clearly the genre or age level of a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is like my fav. Book ever it is so good i couldnt put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A musr read and the BEST BOOK EVER!!! i would recomend this book for fourth and fith graders
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was picked to read this book for round three of literature circle chat and so far it is worthy of one million dollars. The author is certainly showing and not telling, the cover is a picturesque woods, and for kids who want to be writers, this book is definetly for you. I am planning to be a writer and i thoght this book really helped me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good i was required to read it and it was great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This books was great! It defintely teaches u that all u really need is love. The only thing i dosnt like was the ending. But overall it was a fantastic book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you thought E.B White is a good author then you will love Sharon Creech
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book, for young and old. Ever since I was 7 I've loved it. A wonderful read.