World of Ink June Book Tour for Margot Finke
Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind by Margot Finke
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-059-0
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-060-6
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing (January, 2011)
Ages 9-12Children's Picture Book
Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family. Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, and their three children are now grown and doing very well.
Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes!"
Ruthie and The Hippo’s Fat Behind is a tale that shows how changes in our lives can affect children in different ways.
Ruthie was a young girl who used to be sweet and nice, until her and her family moved across the state into a different house. Ruthie was having a hard time making friends and adjusting to the change. It was because of this that she turned into quite a grump. Her attitude was terrible, she was rude and disrespectful, she was giving her parents sass and her choice in holey and mismatched apparel was atrocious. She was silently screaming out for help.
Then one day as Ruthie sat, even more depressed, on the stairs towards the back of her yard, she discovered something. The noise was soft at first, but when she listened harder, her heart began to race, it was the sound of a whimper. Could whatever the noise be change her attitude and turn her back into the sweet girl she once was?
This story is simply told, and describes well how children can be affected when a big change disrupts their lives. It is told in a rhyming and fun fashion that children will enjoy, with the colorful illustrations depicting each moment in Ruthie’s grumpy tale all the way until she changes her ways. A parent’s guide in the back of the book will help parents handle certain situations and advise them in how to handle them. Children, who are going through similar situations as Ruthie, will benefit most from this 16 page picture book, as parents discuss with them the moral of the story.
A minor quibble, because this is supposed to be a story meant to teach a lesson in a fun way, and because this reviewer has moved 20 times in her lifetime and knows how it is, Ruthie’s parents should have recognized the signs and knew that she was having a hard time adjusting. Her obvious disregard in appearance, her withdrawal away from her family and change of attitude should have been a red flag to her parents that something was wrong. Showing the parents talking to Ruthie and helping her adjust to the change, and helping her in some way, would have had more of an impact to the reader and would have been more beneficial in discussion, then showing just Ruthie’s side and putting emphasis on her terrible mood.
This story demonstrates that parents need to discuss with their children changes that need to be made in their lives and the reasons for them. Some situations will take longer to get over and some will be easier to accept and adjust to. The bottom line is that a pet or a toy are quick fixes like a band aid, they may not resolve any underlying issues or feelings that might be present, then again, they might be just what the child needs to find their way back, every child and situation is different, but the point is, communication lines need to be open and the family needs to work together to resolve a problem like this. The child can’t be expected to solve that problem on their own.
This story touches the surface of possible moods that can be expected during a big change in a child’s life, like moving, the loss of a loved one, divorce, etc… in a gentle way. The author chose not to dig too deep into the topic in her story but does add some great information in the parent’s guide in the back of the book that can further discussion and learning.
Giveaway Opportunity: Stop Press
Write a comment on any participating blog during Margot's June Book Tour,
and win a FREE COPY of her fun time-travel story.
She wrote it specially for kids.
One copy per person. Please leave your e-mail in the comments section along with STOP PRESS GIVEAWAY. Must be a GFC member of this blog.
Author is also giving away a 3 book collection for readers who follow her on each blog stop.