I've long been a Lauren Child Fan. Her Charlie and Lola picture
books are the cat's pajamas. (Spoken as someone who has quite a bit
of Lola in her). So when I was shelving YA books at Orono Public
Library and saw that she had penetrated this demographic I was
intrigued. Let's face it. When taking this big of an age leap target
audience wise authors tend to succeed or bomb on a spectacular scale.
Child succeeds brilliantly with Ruby Redfort Look Into My Eyes.
Create a heroine like a cross between an older Lola and Roald Dahl's
Matilda, place her in an environment peopled by hopelessly clueless
adults, and throw in a high stakes mystery. You have a total page
Ruby is a gifted and observant young lady with a gift for code
cracking. As the book opens she is watching and making notes about a
suspicious looking cake delivery truck. She has accumulated 622 such
notebooks. Not even best friend Clancy has read them.
The adults in Ruby's world tend to be blithering idiots. "Ruby
had been born to parents who never would be giving Einstein a run for
his money." The adults at her school are in the same league. Mrs.
Digby who runs the household scene seems to be the only person past
teen years with any hope of Darwinian survival.
Things begin to happen. Mrs. Digby and the entire contents of
the Redfort home are stolen. Clueless Mom and Das hire a butler who
is obviously not a butler. The housemaids elbow he is nursing turns
out to be a gunshot wound. A series of intriguing codes lures Ruby to
an underground spy agency in need of her particular talents.
Oh, yeah, and did I mention a museum and neighboring bank in
Ruby's town are about to acquire very theft worthy treasures?
I just have one thing to say. I sure hope Lauren Child is
cooking up a sequel.
On a personal note, I've just about caught up on the house stuff. I
took time off to volunteer on Operation Clean Sweep. A group of
college students, Lisa who runs student volunteering, and I did up a
yard sale of items left behind by students. There was a lot of work
but also plenty of time to talk and joke around and be silly. Lisa
sent for restaurant food. It was like summer camp. The clothes room,
dubbed Julia's closet had piles taller than me. That sale netted over
$4,000 for campus volunteer programs. Multitudes were thrilled with
their finds. It was all good.
A great big shout out goes out to Lisa and the clean sweep gang. It
was, as always, a pleasure working with you.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod