When Ruby Tried to Grow Candy

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Wacky, Wild & Wysterious!
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Reader reviewed by Julie M. Prince

I was pre-disposed to hate it. I didnt like the cover. For a picture book, thats a big deal to me. But, I cracked it open anyway, only to find myself in love.

I didnt get the art at first. What was this? A combination of blurred photographs and simple, graphic illustrations? Weird! And yet&it worked. For this picture book, it worked. I went back through several times to catch things Id missed and to chuckle at the egg-beaters growing on a tree.

Kids will love this one, I thought to myself. Who am I to scoff, since it wasnt written for me? But, you see, I figured out as I read that it IS for me.

You know that part in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY when the doors open and the candy wonderland is displayed? The chocolate river and the giant gumdrops and the cream-filled mushroom polka-dots? I LOVE that part, dont you? Well, Miss Wysteriouss garden reminds me of the factory. Where weird things thrive and the strange proprietor is simply lonely and misunderstood (and yes, a little looney).

Things start simply enough. Ruby Louise Hawthorn loses her ball over the fence into her neighbors yard. Could happen to anyone. And, as in many other books and movies, the neighboring yard is a scary place, in this case full of weird noises and crazy cackles. So, Ruby does what any self-respecting main character would do: writes her will and climbs over the fence to retrieve her ball.

Naturally, she cannot escape notice when she lands smack into the garden bed Miss Wysterious, is tending. Oh, but what odd things shes tending! Ill leave the surprises up to future readers, but suffice it to say, those readers will not be disappointed&if they liked Charlies chocolate factory or Alices wonderland, that is!

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