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Wiles, Debbie.
San Diego : Harcourt, 2001
IL 3-6, RL 6.2
ISBN 0152023143

4 booktalks

Booktalk #1

Meet Ruby Lavender.  She is nine years old and has red hair and freckles.  She lives in the small town of Halleluia, Mississippi – “Population: 400 Good Friendly Folks And A Few Old Soreheads.”  Ruby’s best friend is her grandmother, Miss Eula.  Ruby and her grandmother write each other every day and leave their letters in the trunk of an old tree.  One summer, Ruby’s grandmother leaves to go visit her son in Hawaii whose wife has just had a baby.  Ruby is not about to willingly share her grandmother with any baby living in Hawaii.  Ruby and her grandmother continue to write each other and Ruby passes her time reading to her chickens and sweeping the floor of her aunt’s store.  This refreshing novel points out how daily events often take on huge proportions in the minds of children and that with love, support, and kindness, they can find their way.
Prepared by:  Susan Adams for South Carolina Children's Book Award

Booktalk #2

Meet Ruby Lavendar.  She's 9 years old with red hair and freckles.  She lives in the small town of Halleluia, Mississippi -- "Population: 400 Good Friendly Folks And A Few Old Soreheads."  Ruby best friend is her grandmother Miss Eula.  Ruby and Miss Eula write each other letters every day and leave them in their special mailbox -- the trunk of an old tree.  Summer is going ok for Ruby until Miss Eula drops a bombshell on her.  Miss Eula is going to go to Hawaii to visit her son and her brand new grandbaby.  Ruby is  not all that pleased with this news.  After all, she's been the one and only grandchild all her life and she is not about to share Miss Eula with any baby living in Hawaii! How can Miss Eula even consider going?  Ruby and Miss Eula share their summer adventures through their letters and Ruby makes it clear that she isn't happy and wants her grandmother to come home.  But, she passes her time reading to her chickens (the ones she and Miss Eula "liberated" from the chicken farm), avoiding Melba Jane (with her thumb tack shoes and fake curly hair) and sweeping the floor of her aunt's store.  Join this feisty red-head for some comical adventures and find out why she's been avoiding going near the bridge.

Booktalk #3

                    It may well be the worst summer of Ruby Lavender’s life.  Oh, it started off well enough.  You see Lucius Peterson had announced that he was planning to close Peterson’s Egg Ranch after 45 years and send all the chickens to the slaughterhouse.  Naturally, Ruby and her Grandmother, Miss Eula Dapplevine, were not about to let him murder those hens without a fight.  Together they launched a raid on the Egg Farm and successfully rescued three red hens that had been looking at a future of Chicken a la King.  Things seemed to go downhill after that.
                        You see, Miss Eula is not just Ruby’s grandmother, she’s her partner and her best friend.  But then Miss Eula got a letter from Ruby’s uncle Johnson.  He and Aunt Annette have had a new baby and Miss Eula is going all the way to Hawaii to visit them, leaving Ruby stuck in Halleluia, Mississippi, with nothing to do.  What’s worse is that she has to cope with that horrible Melba Jane and with life all by herself.  Can Ruby make her peace with Melba Jane?  Will Miss Eula ever come back from Hawaii?
                    Good garden of peas!  You are going to love this book!  (Alice Brice,, graduate student, MLIS program, University of South Carolina)

Booktalk #4

Ruby Lavendar lives in Hallelulia, Mississippi and is the only grandchild of Miss Eula Dapplewhite. Ruby and her grandmother have a strong, caring relationship that continues even when Miss Eula visits her new grandchild in Hawaii. The two exchange newsy letters, but Ruby misses her grandmother and is jealous of her new cousin. As the long, lazy summer unwinds, adventurous and charming Ruby spends her time making new friends, hatching chicks, and learning to cope with loss. She learns that “life goes on” in this heartwarming and timeless story.  (Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Program, 2004-2005)

SUBJECTS:     Grandparents -- Fiction.
                        Self-reliance -- Fiction.
                        Death -- Fiction.
                        Chickens -- Fiction.
                        Mississippi -- Fiction.


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