20 Years of RUBY FLEW TOO!

20 Years of Ruby Flew Too! Logo and cover image

Today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Ruby Flew Too! the picture book I created with illustrator Rebecca Harry

The book tells the story of Ruby the smallest of five ducklings, who is the last to hatch and whose early development lags behind her boisterous siblings until she eventually catches up with and surpasses them “in her own time!”

Ruby’s story struck a chord with many families, particularly those with premature babies, some of whom contacted me to tell me that the book had had a profound effect on their lives. Here’s a couple of excerpts from emails I’ve received about the book.  You can read more on this page.

“There is something you come to learn with a child in the NICU. It is always on THEIR time schedule. In their own time. You can never push them. They will do things when THEY are ready. All those things are the same things that your book speaks to. I read this book to her while she was attached to ventilators and while she was being weaned down from the nasal canula, and as she was learning to eat.”

“I reread your book whenever I am anxious about our little Ruby. As with most preemies she is behind in all her milestones and there have been many a time when I have battled with my own frustrations at how far ahead her peers always seem to be. When I find myself asking “will she ever crawl?” “will she ever walk?” or “will she ever talk?” I always revert to mother duck’s words of profound wisdom – “She will. In her own time.” Thank God for mother duck!”

Excerpts shown with permission

The inspiration for the story came from a lake near my home in Nottingham. One day I spotted a nest with a solitary egg among the reeds at edge of the lake, which gave me the idea for both the story and its original title, Once Upon a Time, Upon a Nest.
This title was used for the UK hardback edition published in 2004, but the book’s US publishers retitled the book Ruby in Her Own Time. The following year, the UK publisher decided to give their paperback edition a third title – Ruby Flew Too! – which Rebecca and I kept for the current print-on-demand edition.

The story has had three titles since it was first published.

RUBY FLEW TOO! was the first picture book Rebecca illustrated. Although she and I kept in touch through emails and phone calls, we’d never met in person until last year. Rebecca made the delightful Ruby doll in the photo as a gift for me!

The book has been translated into eight foreign language editions and was adapted into a charming stage show by Topsy Turvy Theatre.

Topsy Turvy Theatre's stage production of the book.

Rebecca and I created two more Ruby picture books together.  While the first book follows Ruby’s life from egg to adult, the sequels, This Way, Ruby! and Go For It, Ruby!, tell of her adventures as a young duckling.

To mark the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Ruby Flew Too!, Rebecca and I have published a print-on-demand paperback omnibus edition, the Ruby the Duckling Story Collection, which contains all three stories in one book.

To celebrate Ruby’s 20th birthday, Rebecca and I are giving away three signed copies plus signed posters to UK readers via Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and Threads.

To enter the competition, all you need to do is share one of our competition posts and follow the Facebook/X/Instagram/Threads account. You can find the posts easily using the links below. Rebecca and I will pick three UK readers at random from everyone who has shared and followed any of the posts on Tuesday 27 February 2024.

You can order the Ruby the Duckling Story Collection from Amazon using the links below.

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