|Ruby Rocksparkle: Her Wildly Incredible Adventure by Jean Clemens Loftus|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Ruby Rocksparkle is a really sweet, Disney-esque fairy tale written with charm. The book itself has been put together very thoughtfully and girly girls from primary school to tweens are going to love it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 260||Date: December 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Ruby Rocksparkle and her thirteen - yes! thirteen! - siblings are all named after gemstones. Ruby's father is a peasant farmer in the happy little kingdom of Felicitania. Felicitania is ruled by the kingly King Flavian and his beautiful second wife, Queen Morgana. His son, Prince Alano, is busily preparing for the day when he must rule, and the time for him to find a wife is fast approaching. Ruby, a vivid, read-headed beauty, dreams of marrying Prince Alano. If only he could ever marry a commoner - but even Ruby knows that could never be.
The Rocksparkles and the royal family are thrown together when the King is involved in a carriage accident. In gratitude for his rescue, King Flavian makes Mr Rocksparkle a minister at his court and the family's fortunes are greatly improved. But then events take a more sinister turn. Vain Queen Morgana discovers a wrinkle or two and, when skin potions fail to eradicate them, recruits a witch to cast an evil spell maintaining her position as the most beautiful woman in the land. And suddenly Felicitanian women start disappearing.
Ruby is one of those captured, but escapes, and, dressed as a boy, accompanies Prince Alano on his journey to find a suitable bride. Along the way they have many adventures, meeting highwaymen, pirates and even a sultan, but will the truth about Queen Morgana's wicked scheme ever be discovered? And will Prince Alano find a bride and dash Ruby's dreams for good?
Ruby Rocksparkle has a charming feel about it. Felicitania is a green and pleasant land, ruled by a benevolent king and peopled by a hardworking and honest peasantry. There are few villains and the criminal justice system works by rehabilitation not retribution. The main characters are fairy tale stocks but they do succeed in having individual personalities - especially Ruby herself, who has strength of character and a great sense of humour. This is a real escapist world and it's a pleasure to spend some time in it. Loftus writes in precise and elegant prose and chooses her vocabulary carefully so that she keeps her readers involved but also sets them some challenges.
The book itself has been put together with great care. There are lovely sketched illustrations that are completely in keeping with the fairy tale style. Illustrator Marlene Record has hit exactly the right note with them. Girly readers who love the idea of an entire family named after precious stones will enjoy checking out their own birthstones in an appendix at the back. And there's also a glossary of difficult words. I really liked this idea. Loftus hasn't written at the level of the youngest girls who will read her book, but she hasn't forgotten them either. It's good to stretch a child's vocabulary if you can and there are some great words in here - subdue, ponder, lavish, plight, amiable, vibrant.
Ruby Rocksparkle is a really sweet, Disney-esque fairy tale written with charm. Girly girls from primary school to tween will love it and I'm sure they'll be looking for the next story about a Rocksparkle sister as soon as they can.
You can keep up with Rocksparkle family on Facebook.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ruby Rocksparkle: Her Wildly Incredible Adventure by Jean Clemens Loftus at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Ruby Rocksparkle: Her Wildly Incredible Adventure by Jean Clemens Loftus at Amazon.com.
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