The Ramble Shamble Children – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: The Ramble Shamble Children

Author: Christina Soontornvat

Illustrator: Lauren Castillo

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021

Ages: 4-8

32 pages. 

Genre: fiction

Themes: home, family, working together, ramble shamble


Down the mountain, across the creek,

past the last curve in the road,

five children lived together

in a ramble shamble house.


Merra, Locky, Roozle, Finn, and little Jory love their ramble shamble house. It’s a lot of work taking care of the garden, the chickens, and themselves, but they all pitch in to make it easier–even Jory, who looks after the mud puddles. When they come across a picture of a “proper” house in a book, they start wondering if their own home is good enough. So they get to work “propering up” the garden, the chickens, and even the mud puddles. But the results aren’t exactly what they expected, and when their now-proper household’s youngest member goes missing, they realize that their ramble shamble home might be just right for their family, after all.

Why I like this book:

When is book two being published?

No parents in sight, which I love and, fits this story perfectly. It is sweetness all the way through without every getting cloying. These five diverse kids learn how good it feels to work together and recognize while what they have may not be conventional perfection, it is perfect for their style and needs. Castillo’s signature illustration style, which I adore, matches perfectly with Soontornvat’s, both having a classic feel to their creations.

A great family read-aloud.


Draw your perfect family home and garden.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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6 Responses to The Ramble Shamble Children – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I look forward to reading this book. What fun to be on your own and no parents in sight. A lot of responsibility and fun! It reminds me a bit of the Box Car Children and The Problim Children (chapter/MG books). Will definitely check out Christina’s new PB. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jilanne F Hoffmann says:

    This one’s on my TBR list. I loved All Thirteen and A Wish in the Dark. Both so good! I just invited Christina to Kidquake, but I was too late—she was already booked! Sob. Maybe next year!….but we most likely will be back to in-person, so then only if she’s traveling to SF….sigh

  3. Reminds me ever so slightly of the mood in the Pippi stories!

  4. Patricia Nozell says:

    I had seen the title of this new picture book somewhere, and it intrigued me. Thanks for a great review that has me adding this to my library request list.

  5. Candice Conner says:

    I was thinking Problim Children too! The taking care of a mud puddle sounds absolutely charming.

  6. This looks fabulous, Joanna! Thanks so much for sharing! I look forward to reading it and sharing it with my granddaughter – it’s right up her alley!

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