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Creech, Sharon.
New York : Joanna Cotler Books, 2002.
IL 3-6, RL 6.0
ISBN 0060277335

(6 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Dallas and Florida are troubled twins who live in the Boxton Creek Home for Children for far too many years, because the managers of the home, Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, could not find a foster family able to control this terrible twosome. The Moreys, Sairy and Tiller, offer to take in the twins because they want the company of two sturdy youngsters in order to make their dream adventure vacation come true. Sairy and Tiller are very different from other families who have temporarily housed the twins. The Moreys live in Ruby Holler, in a secluded bungalow deep in the woods at the end of a dirt road. Tiller and Sairy hope to float on a raft across the state to the Rutabago River and then escape to the exotic little island of Kangadoon. With Florida and Dallas, the Moreys will get their adventure, but will the twins find a permanent foster home or will the Moreys return them to Boxton Creek Home and the Trepids when the journey ends?  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2003-2004)

Booktalk #2

When Tiller and Sairy Morey, a 60-year-old white-haired couple whose own four children are grown, decide they want to take separate summer vacations to the Rutubago River and to Kangadoon, they head to the Boxton Creek Home for Children, to find two young people to accompany them.  What the Moreys find are orphaned thirteen-year-old twins: dreamy Dallas and negative Florida, whose favorite word is "putrid".  What the twins think they find are "a couple of old lunatics."  The twins are taken to Ruby Holler where they are not thrown down into a spidery cellar and locked in, or beaten up, as has happened in the past.  Instead, they spend their days planning for their trips, learning to do chores and getting paid for them, learning to whittle, and eating amazing secret recipes such as "getting-over-kids stew", "beat-the-broccoli blues", anti-cranky crumpets", and "getting-used-to-kids-again stew."  Of course, every day, the twins plan to catch the night train, just in case.  When Dallas chops down Tiller's favorite maple tree and cuts a raggedy hole in the barn so that there's more light, Sairy lovingly smoothes things over.  Visiti Ruby Holler with Dallas and Florida.  You'll find out that some adults can still be trusted, love, laughter and adventure are alive and well, the "bad guys" get poison ivy and what "gazillionaires" really do with their money -- at least in Ruby Holler.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #3

Thirteen year old twins, Dallas and Florida , seem destined to be stuck forever in the foster home of the rule-driven Trepids. They spend countless hours “thinking” in the dark corner of the basement or pulling weeds and scrubbing floors for their many misdemeanors, such as running in the house or talking back. It’s not that they’ve never had a chance to be adopted, but all of the adoptive families eventually returned the “trouble twins” back to the home. Dallas and Florida have decided their only way out is to stow away on the freight train that comes through Boxton each night. One day, their foster parents come in to ask them to remove their “I’ve Been Bad” shirts so that they can meet an older couple that would like to have them spend the summer with them. Sairy and Tiller are planning separate trips and are in need of traveling companions. Dallas and Florida meet the unusual couple and are skeptical as to why Sairy would want to take Dallas on a trip to a tropical island, Kangadoon, and Tiller would want to take Florida on a cruise down the Rutabago River . As the Trepids are very anxious to be rid of the twins for the summer, they end up going with the eccentric couple back to their home in Ruby Holler to prepare for their journeys. Once the kids have had a chance to experience life “in the holler” without constant punishment for every move they make, they begin to have hope for a brighter future. They struggle between their inability to trust adults and their yearning for a family and a place to belong. Should they follow through with their plan to run away or risk having their hearts broken once again by allowing themselves to be happy? The plot thickens as the thieving Trepids and a neighbor of Sairy and Tiller’s create some obstacles to overcome. You have to read this wonderful tale of adventure, humor and compassion for yourself to experience the joy found in Ruby Holler.

Prepared by: Jan Faile for The South Carolina Children's Book Award nominees 2005

Booktalk #4

I’m sure you’ve seen twins before, but these fraternal twins, Dallas and Florida, are known as the “trouble twins.”  From birth, it seems that this brother and sister pair is destined for trouble. In the orphanage where they live, they are locked in the attic, not given food, and must do whatever their “caregivers” tell them to do because their behavior is so “terrible.”  All of that changes, though, when Dallas and Florida leave the orphanage after an old, eccentric couple invites them to move with them to a place they call Ruby Holler.  Can the twins accept the nurturing love of Sairy and Tiller?  The security of Ruby Holler and its greatest treasure is at stake if they can’t!

Prepared by: Leigh Jordan for South Carolina Junior Book Award 2005

Booktalk #5

Florida and Dallas are fraternal twins living at the Boxton Creek Home for Children.  They have no idea who their parents are, only that they were left on the Trepid’s doorstep in a box.  The Trepid’s run the children's home and have rules for everything.  Florida and Dallas have had several bad experiences in foster homes and now find themselves in Ruby Holler with a “couple of old lunatics” according to Florida.
                    They were sent to live with Tiller and Sairy because they are planning their trip of a lifetime but needed traveling companions.  Florida is going to travel with Tiller down several rivers in an old boat while Dallas and Sairy make their way to an exotic island in search of a mysterious bird.
                    Dallas thinks this is wonderful but worries about being away from Florida.  Florida thinks the whole idea is “putrid”, her favorite word.  Will they make these fascinating trips?  What will happen to them when they are finished being travel companions for the “old lunatics”? Will they decide to run away and make it on their own?  Read Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech to find out.  (Karen Bennett-Waterfield,,  CLIS 794)

Booktalk #6

Thirteen year old twins, Dallas and Florida, are the oldest orphans at the Boxton Creek Home.  Dallas and Florida are called the “terrible twins” by the Mr. and Mrs. Trepid the owners of the orphanage. The twins are always in trouble for breaking Mrs. Trepid’s rules. They are also regularly sent to the thinking corners and wearing “I’ve been bad shirts” by Mr. or Mrs. Trepid.  Dallas and Florida were left at the door of Boxton Creek home in a cardboard box with their names on the sides of the box, when they were just babies and they have lived there ever since. The twins have been to several foster homes; but they are always returned to the orphanage because they end up being too much to handle. The twins return to the orphanage with terrible foster home experiences, such as being locked in the basement. The twins are a tough and determined pair who have learned to expect nothing good from life and they have learned not to trust people. Their only comfort is to dream of escaping on the distant train that passes the orphanage in the night. The brutality they have been exposed to all their lives has made them predictably unlovable. Dallas and Florida are known as the terrible twins, partly because they always wish to stay together. Florida is very adventurous and strong-minded, and is very averse to obeying rules. Dallas is quieter, and tends to follow Florida’s lead. One day a couple named Tiller and Sairy Morey go to the Trepids orphanage, and when they see Dallas and Florida, they decide that they want to adopt them. The next day the twins go home with Tilller and Sairy. When they get there the twins are amazed, the warm little house in the country is so different from the cold orphanage they are used to. Dallas and Florida are very apprehensive when Tiller and Sairy invite them to stay at Ruby Holler to help them with their expeditions, and are sure they will be punished horribly for everything they do. They are very surprised at the Moreys’ odd habits but they soon have lots of fun. However, when they accidentally let an important secret slip out, they are horrified at what they have done. At many times throughout the book they decide to catch the night train and run away, but they still have important lessons to learn. When the magic and mystery of Ruby Holler takes over, will Dallas and Florida learn to trust people again? Find out by reading Sharon Creech’s book, Ruby Holler.  (Becky Proctor,, school librarian at Dorchester Academy, St. Geore, SC)

SUBJECTS:     Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Twins -- Fiction.
                        Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
                        Wood carvers -- Fiction.
                        Country life -- Fiction.
                        Voyages and travels -- Fiction.


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