As already observed previously in these pages, it seems a challenge for a
children’s author to conceive of a children’s book that isn’t fantastic,
and Elizabeth Ezra’s Ruby McCracken: Tragic Without Magic falls neatly
into the groove.
Ruby lives with her parents and little brother on the island of Hexadonia,
where she is happily attending the East Hexadonia Sorcery Academy.
One day she arrives home to find that her parents have both lost their jobs and
the family is leaving Hexadonia in search of a new life in the ordinary
‘Ord’ world, Edinburgh to be precise. Ruby must adjust to living without
her friends, her place on the cockroach team and worst of all, her magic.
It just doesn’t work any more.
But perhaps there was a reason for her family’s abrupt departure. Perhaps
someone is still trying to find them.Â Perhaps she is not the only
banished witch who is trying to understand the Ord world.
The story is narrated in the first person and it is Ruby’s witty,
irreverent voice that makes the book fun to read, or listen to, as she
tries to be accepted by her new schoolmates in a world where they think
strips of potato called chips taste nice. Any child who has had to move
home or school will relate to the feelings of loss, hope and fear of
ridicule when you don’t fit in that Ruby endures.
This book was a Kelpie’s prize winner in 2016 and is very enjoyable and fun.
Elizabeth Ezra (BA with Highest Honours in Literature, UC Santa Cruz; PhD
in Romance Studies, Cornell) teaches French literature, language and
culture, and European and Global Cinema at the University of Stirling.
Published by Floris Books at Â£6.99