Way Down Deep (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

( 7 )

Overview

Although Ruby seemed to just appear out of thin air on the steps of the courthouse on the first day of summer in 1944, no one in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, ever worried too much about where the toddler came from. They figured that if Ruby?s people were dumb enough to lose something as valuable as a child, then that was their problem. So even though Ruby can?t help but wonder where she came from, she has led a joyful and carefree life in Way Down Deep, loved and watched over by Miss Arbutus ? proprietor of The ...

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Way Down Deep

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Overview

Although Ruby seemed to just appear out of thin air on the steps of the courthouse on the first day of summer in 1944, no one in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, ever worried too much about where the toddler came from. They figured that if Ruby’s people were dumb enough to lose something as valuable as a child, then that was their problem. So even though Ruby can’t help but wonder where she came from, she has led a joyful and carefree life in Way Down Deep, loved and watched over by Miss Arbutus – proprietor of The Roost, the local boardinghouse – the residents of The Roost, and the rest of the town. But when Ruby is twelve, a new family moves to Way Down Deep, and they inadvertently provide enough clues about Ruby’s past that she is able to find her own people. Ruby travels from Way Down Deep to the top of Yonder Mountain to learn who she really is – only to find that she is bound to Way Down Deep by something even stronger than family ties: love.

With a touch of fairy-tale magic and a lot of heart, Ruth White explores just what it is that makes a place truly home.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The opening chapters of this warmhearted story set in 1954 read like postcards from the holler, as White (Belle Prater's Boy) introduces the quirky residents of Way Down Deep, a town "cradled between the hills in a place that later became known as West Virginia." The central setting is a boardinghouse called The Roost, run by Miss Arbutus Ward, the last living member of the family that founded the town. Into her life drops Ruby, about age three, who turns up one June morning on the courthouse steps, unable to explain how she got there. Some of White's narrative teeters on the wobbly edge of farce: the Reeder siblings, for instance, are named Peter, Cedar, Jeeter, Skeeter and baby Rita ("Mama had run out of rhyming names, so she had to settle for a tongue twister," explains oldest sibling Peter). But as the mystery of Ruby's origins unravels, White reigns in her eccentric cast to focus on the girl's tender relationship with Miss Arbutus, and the story finds an emotional center. The ending is a bit neat, but this book brims with wise observations and beautifully realized moments, such as when Ruby explains what Miss Arbutus told her about why a fellow boarder, haunted by the mother who gave him up for adoption as a baby, sleeps all day: "God is in that place where sleep takes us. Way down deep inside, where all the answers lie." Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Jamie S. Hansen
In 1944, the residents of tiny Way Down Deep, West Virginia, were enchanted to discover a red-haired toddler sitting on the steps of the courthouse, seemingly having materialized out of thin air. Because the child could offer no clues to her identity, except her name-Ruby-the town adopted her with enthusiasm. For years, even though Ruby occasionally wondered about her parents and her previous home, she led an idyllic existence, adored and protected by Miss Arbutus, owner of the Roost boardinghouse, as well as by the other delightfully eccentric residents of the remote mountain community. When Robber Bob Reeder, his elderly father, and his five alliteratively named children moved to town from across the mountains in Virginia, the year Ruby was twelve, however, the girl's life suddenly changed. With their stories of children lost on mountains and eaten by panthers, the Reeder family inadvertently provided clues that offer Ruby the chance to discover who she really is. When Ruby makes the long journey from Way Down Deep to the top of Yonder Mountain, she meets her blood kin at last, only to discover that the ties of love can be even stronger than those of family. Peopled with delightfully quirky characters, this short novel captures the authentic cadences of Appalachia. Adding a hint of magical realism to this sweet and tender tale of family and friendship, White helps her readers to learn what home and family really mean for Ruby and for everyone.
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Infant Ruby June shows up in Way Down, West Virginia one day, with curly red hair and no parent in sight. It is 1944 and Miss Arbutus Ward, spinster owner of the town boardinghouse, takes her in. But when Robber Bob moves to town with his senile father, Bird, Ruby comes into contact with her past and seeks to find out who she is and how she ended up on the courthouse bench. Way Down is populated with some truly eccentric Appalachian characters. There are Dr. and Dr. Doctor, the family physician and his wife, the dentist; Mrs. Rife, who throws rocks; and Miss Wordy, who runs the town library. Mr. Crawford, who also lives in the boardinghouse, The Roost, is writing a book about the town that never gets written. When Bob Steeder and family move into town, Ruby becomes friends with Peter and his nonstop cussing brother, Cedar. (Cuss words are delicately indicated by symbols.) They too have lost their mother, but seem to know something about a small girl who disappeared mysteriously from Yonder Mountain, another Appalachian community. The novel integrates folklore with elements of fantasy and biography as Ruby searches for identity and comes to realize the true nature of home and mother. This may be a bit quirky for young adolescents, but it provides an excellent character study through old-fashioned Appalachian storytelling.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Framed in the textured Appalachian context we have come to expect from White, here is the story of Ruby June. In 1944, at the age of "two and a half, three at most," we learn she has been left outside the courtroom in the town of Way Down Deep. Because the Sheriff does not know how to say no, Ruby ends up with Miss Arbutus Ward, owner of The Roost, and is quickly integrated into the life of this quirky town. Then Bob Reeder, as inept as he is needy, arrives on the scene and fails miserably in his attempt to rob the local bank. He is given cookies, groceries, and an empty house in town. He has twelve children, after all, and the citizens of Way Down Deep are compassionate in a lovely, practical kind of way. In less capable hands this material could easily turn to treacle but here it assumes the dimensions of a mystically guided journey. It is Ruby's journey, in fact, and soon an uncle turns up to claim her. The cast of characters is purely delightful—among them Cedar Reeder, who is afflicted with cussitis and swears in energetic code; nonagenarian Mrs. Rife, who throws rocks at people walking past her house; and Reese, who serenades Ruby with popular ditties of the period, amusingly placed. Sometimes the answers to Ruby's questions arrive a little too readily. Grandma Combs seems antagonistic enough to make the pluckiest orphan tremble, although her transformation into guilty survivor feels a bit neat. Still, in all, this is a charming tale of family, loss, and identity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606237659
  • Publisher: Sanval, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 197
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

RUTH WHITE is the author of many award-winning books for children and young adults, including the Newbery Honor Book Belle Prater’s Boy and its sequel, The Search for Belle Prater. She lives in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.

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Read an Excerpt

Way Down Deep


By White, Ruth

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Copyright © 2007 White, Ruth
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0374382514

From Way Down Deep
When Miss Arbutus and Ruby grew weary, Ruby would go to her cozy room, which Miss Arbutus had decorated for her in ruffled yellow and white, with purple pansies embroidered on her curtains and pillow shams.
 
Before turning out the light, Ruby always stood before the window and gazed at the hills against the night sky. Though she could not remember her parents, she thought of them, and wished them health and happiness.
 
"And don't forget me," she always added. "Woo-bee is right here waiting for you."
 
Then Ruby climbed into bed. The pansy curtains fluttered in the mountain breeze as her eyes closed. Sometimes she woke up in the wee hours of the morning to find a lady in her room, sitting very still in an armchair by the window. At such times a hazy memory floated to the surface of Ruby's mind – a memory of being held and rocked beside a window, through which she could see snow falling.
 
If Ruby sat up in bed, or said anything, the woman disappeared into the shadows. So she learned that if she was to keep this lady, who was surely her mother, then she must not move or speak. She would drift off to sleep again, and the morning daylight revealed nobody in the chair.


Continues...

Excerpted from Way Down Deep by White, Ruth Copyright © 2007 by White, Ruth. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Recipe

"Both fable and mystery, Way Down Deep is simply irresistible, as plucky orphan Ruby June searches for the secret of her past, deeply entwined with an entire community worthy of Dickens. Funny, sweet, and filled with the heart’s own truths, this is the best book yet from the queen of Appalachian storytelling." —Lee Smith, author of On Agate Hill and Fair and Tender Ladies
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Read or not

    Should i get it or not

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Njones

    Preaty good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Sad

    Sad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008

    Way Down Deep

    Way down deep is about a misteries girl that was left alone in the town called way down deep. She grows up as an addopded child, kind of.The book has twist-in-turns about a girl found mysterieosly in the town.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2007

    a reviewer

    Ok, I know this book is for 10 yr olds, but I read it as a 12 yr old b/c I love Ruth White's books, and I still enjoyed it. I like the storyline, but the ending was just a little too 'happily-ever-after'-ish for me. It was a little on the short side, and I think it needed a little more to it, but good all the same

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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