Ruby in the Ruins

By Shirley Hughes

A classic picture book about family life, set in post-war London, from the best-loved and award-winning Shirley Hughes now available in paperback.

"The observation and draughtsmanship are Hughes in her prime, with scenes of street parties and bustling stations and perfectly rendered period costume" The Sunday Times Ruby and Mum have lived through the terrifying London Blitz and are waiting for Dad to come home from the war. Ruby hardly recognizes the tall man who steps off the train, but when she falls in the ruins nearby, there’s only one person who she wants to rescue her.

Categories: Picture Books

For readers aged: 5+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406382853
  • Published: 04 Apr 2019
  • Price: £6.99
  • Size: 270 x 250 mm
  • Pages: 32

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Customer reviews


'“Set in the aftermath of the London Blitz and VE Day, Hughes takes an evocative look at the ruins of post-war London and the conflicts impact on family life. The relationship between Ruby and her father, newly returned from war, is particularly poignant and well-drawn.”' The Bookseller

'“The observation and draughtsmanship are Hughes in her prime, with scenes of street parties and bustling stations and perfectly rendered period costume. Faces express uncertainty or affection, and the physicality of children is accurately captured as they climb, balance or reach for an embrace. Especially remarkable are the lovely, scumbled views of ruined houses, with their piles of bricks and staircases leading nowhere.”' The Sunday Times

'“Hughes’s familiar drawing brilliantly capture the gaiety of VE day street parties against the eerie aftermath of the Blitz. At ninety, Hughes is the grande dame of the British picture book - and this touching story showers her formula working at its best.”' Oldie

'“Ruby in the Ruins is so rose-tinted you can smell the floral perfume: death is avoided, Dad shows no sign of trauma, Mum has not been radicalised in his absence. Yet it’s as comforting as a tea cosy and an ideal introduction to the war for delicate tinies.” - Alex O'Connell' The Times (Saturday Review)

'“The book paints a wonderful picture of a child's life in post-war London, and celebrates the love of a family.”' Parents In Touch

'“[…] vividly evokes a child’s view of the aftermath of war. After Ruby and Mum weather the blitz together, Dad comes home at last; but, to Ruby, he seems a huge, sunburned stranger, taking up too much space … But rather than being remote and shell-shocked, Dad is warmly sympathetic to Ruby’s escapades in this story full of resilient, hopeful love.”' The Guardian

'“Hughes’s drawings brilliantly evoke the gaiety of VE Day street parties (“the delicious sandwiches, cake and even chocolate biscuits!”) against the eerily derelict streets in the aftermath of the Blitz.” ' The Telegraph

'“[a] poignant tale”' The Daily Telegraph, Best 50 Books of 2018

'“Hughes – whose great gift has always been to tell ordinary everyday children’s stories, of losing a toy or camping – applies that same familiar style to war, as if it too were just another part of life.” ' The Glasgow Herald

'“This classic book gives an accurate visual impression of the era from the bomb sites, the fashions worn and the uniforms of the day, but more than this it touches on many issues to show how war affects every member of the household and how those changes also have to be overcome. A highly recommended read.”' Valerie Loh, Historical Novel Society Magazine

'“Heart-warming and with plenty to think about - from post-war Britain, to separated families and adapting to change, this is a wonderful read for children.”' Julia Wills, Carousel

'“Shirley Hughes vividly evokes the atmosphere of post-war London … This is a sympathetic family story that looks at the aftermath of war, and the changes is brings”' The School Librarian

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