Reviewed by: Mojomums reviewer Claire
What they say: When Ruby Lovell struggled to find a picture book representing her Anglo-Asian children, she decided to write her own story celebrating diversity, adventure and interest in other cultures. Ruby Rides an Elephant is a vibrant and colourful exploration of Sri Lanka, inspired by the bedtime stories Ruby grew up listening to in Colombo, as well as the visits back to her homeland taken with her own children, helping them discover and explore their cultural heritage and experience some of the amazing adventures Ruby had as a child.
From feeding and riding rescue elephants, climbing landmarks like Sigiriya Rock, eating tropical fruit for the first time in bustling markets and learning to play traditional Tamil drums, this authentic exploration will introduce children to a wealth of new cultural experiences and spark their imagination, educate them and instil a sense of adventure.
Artist Zara Merrick brings to life the vivid colours, tastes and sounds of Sri Lanka with bright and whimsical illustrations that capture the atmosphere of this extraordinary island. The collaboration between Ruby and Zara began after they met by chance at their children’s school gates.
What we say: “We’ve read ‘Ruby Rides and Elephant’ by Ruby Lovell numerous times now over the week and have thoroughly enjoyed this quirky illustrated picture book.
My eldest, Archie, 7, found the book a hard read, mainly because of many new words to him, such as Sri Lanka and sari etc. but both Archie (7) and Mia (3) enjoyed the book.
We found it a brilliant way to take a peek into another country and culture, I found it started interesting conversations such as where was Sri Lanka in the world, which resulted in a quick look at Archie’s world map and globe. As well as what other animals lived in Sri Lanka and further discussion about elephants. It also prompted discussion about whether myself or their dad were from another country and the another million questions leading on from that.
The book is a good length for a bedtime read too. I always prefer a hardback too, they keep so much nicer on the bookshelf.
I’ve been asked to read this book on numerous occasions so that to me is a true test of a good book.”
Ruby Rides an Elephant by Ruby Lovell with illustrations by Zara Merrick is published by Lychee Books on 8th March 2018 and costs £6.99.