Kate Knapp, Ruby Red Shoes Goes to London, Angus & Robertson/HarperCollins Australia, 7 Nov 2016, 48pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9780732297626
This gorgeously illustrated book for junior readers is the third in the Ruby Red Shoes series. In this story, Ruby and her grandmother Babushka Galina Galushka travel to London to meet up with Ruby’s aunt and cousins.
According to author-illustrator Kate Knapp’s website, she creates her artwork ‘by hand using pencil, ink, watercolour and magic’. The beauty in this book is in the detail and the gentle humour. There are lots of puns for kids to find in the illustrations – a newspaper blaring ‘Welcome to our new Hare to the Throne’, an advertisement for Hare the Musical and Ruby and her family riding the Hop on, Hop off bus. Ruby’s chickens clamouring to talk to her on the phone was a personal favourite.
The language used to tell the tale (sorry, couldn’t resist) is quite poetic. For example:
Once inside, there is a joyful jumble of cuddles and kisses among a tumble of coats and luggage.
I wasn’t sure if the story of Ruby’s absent parents was covered in an earlier book but here their loss was mentioned in a reassuring manner.
Even though Ruby wishes her mother and father could be with her, Babushka Galushka lovingly reassures her that they are two of the brightest stars in the sky, watching over her always.
Ruby knows just which ones because they stand side by side, shining brilliantly like diamonds and winking, reminding Ruby that they are with her forever.
Note that this was the only slightly mournful note in an otherwise uplifting read. I think little girls will really enjoy poring over this book.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher