Tell Me About It! (Ruby Rogers) by Sue Limb
|Tell Me About It! (Ruby Rogers) by Sue Limb|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Magda Healey|
|Summary: Recommended as a funny, feelgood read with not-so-shallow message for children reading confidently on their own (probably mostly girls), probably from about 7 to 10 years old.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 112||Date: March 2008|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
Another instalment in Sue Limb's Ruby Rogers series Tell Me About It has Ruby going off to the seaside with Mum, Dad (Joe is at home "revising" for his A-levels) as well as Mum's work friend Deb and her family. Ruby's monkeys are coming too, and she's really looking forward to being taught how to swim by Dad and building sandcastles.
Nothing, however, prepared Ruby for Deb's smug businessman husband and her superior daughter Sasha, who keeps bossing Ruby about, excelling at one-one-upmanship and not only manages to get Ruby's dad building an amazing sandcastle with her, but also feigns interest in monkeys and buys a perfectly fascinating one in an antique shop without giving Ruby a chance, only to dress him in Barbie-like clothes later. Only a fairground Chamber of Horrors gives Ruby a great idea for revenge!
These are all great little comedy of manners books for pre-teens. The main character and narrator is Ruby Rogers: a girl of about 10 years of age, so still before the teenage hormonal onslaught and fascination with boys and sex but with already developed acute social consciousness, concerned with the impressions she makes, her friendships and the utterly embarrassing members of her own family.
Ruby is an extremely likeable character: impulsive, energetic, with wild imagination and actions often preceding thought. She is struggling between reason that kicks in around 7 years of age and emotions of a child that still very much need the frequent love and reassurance from parents: still quite cutely childish but already bothered by the cringe factor many a grown up possesses. She is, of course, a bit of a tomboy (why are no sympathetic girls in modern novels ever girly girls?) and she's planning to become a zoologist to study monkeys in the Amazon. She's socially perhaps bit immature or less media-and-streetwise that some of her peers, but she makes up for it in intelligence and independence.
The book is short and easy to read, while containing a reasonably developed storyline, decent background and a lot of realistic emotional and social conundrums. It's also very, very funny: Ruby delivers her observations and commentary with a bit of deadpan seriousness and of course some it is more funny for grown ups than children, but children will also laugh, especially at the situation comedy, while adults might find the reflection of their world as through the eyes of an intelligent child funny in a sometimes excruciating way.
It's all pretty mild stuff though, with no big life tragedies or 'issues' involved, and things tend to end well with differences resolved: this (and other) books from the series has a nice feelgood factor without being patronising or mawkish. The dramas that Ruby lives through are everyday dramas of normal childhood, but there are lessons being learned about trust, responsibility, accepting other people as they are and trying to give them a benefit of the doubt.
Recommended as a funny, feelgood read with not-so-shallow message for children reading confidently on their own (probably mostly girls), probably from about 7 to 10 years old.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending us the book and introducing The Bookbag to Ruby.
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