Bruce Whatley

A Scholastic Press Book

August 2017

$29.99 AU

96p hc

ISBN: 978-1743810354

from PM Literary Awards...

Ruben's dreams were of places that made no sense to him. Places that didn't exist. At least not anymore. Ruben lives in a safe place in a city that takes everything and gives nothing back. He begins to feel that he is in danger and ventures to Block City where he meets Koji. She too has been hiding from the dangers of the industrial city and its excesses. Ruben and Koji realise that if they combine their knowledge of how the city works they can find a way to escape. Ruben is a triumph of Whatley's imaginative and technical skills.

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Ruben by Bruce Whatley is set in a desolate society where a small boy named Ruben has to travel far to scavenge for the things he needs to survive. A train passes the city regularly with the chance of escape, but Ruben never can. He is alone, scared and in an abandoned city when he finds Koji. Together they try to escape from the world they are inů

This book is a futuristic dystopian picture book for young adults. The book ends with an uplifting conclusion and a sense of hope. The pictures are beautifully illustrated using only a graphite pencil. They are a key element in the world building of the book. They create a unique environment with incredible detail. I think the illustrations are very different from what Bruce Whatley usually does and they are still amazing.

I would recommend this book for readers aged 12+. The words are fairly easy to read but the idea of the book may be a bit challenging for younger readers. When I read this I was reminded of The Arrival by Shaun Tan which I would also recommend for fans of this book.

Niamh, age 13

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