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Children's Book Review: 'Ruffleclaw' By Cornelia Funke


by Cornelia Funke

Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015

Ruffleclaw is the third in a series of books by Cornelia Funke which includes Emma and the Blue Genie and The Pirate Pig. This story tells the tale of an earth monster who lives under the shed in Tommy's family's yard. Unlike his neighbor earth monsters, whose burrows are filled with wood-lice and trash, Ruffleclaw loves all things human, and lines his home with sweaters and other trinkets stolen from humans over the years.

While his friends rummage in trash cans, Ruffleclaw peers into the windows of human houses and longs to live like they do. He has a particular fondness for Tommy, and when he finally decides to move in with the humans, he climbs into Tommy's bed at night.

Tommy awakes, startled, to the sound of Ruffleclaw's snoring. Initially annoyed by the earth monster's habits of spitting and eating nearly everything he sees, he reluctantly agrees to let him stay if he promises to stay out of sight of his parents.

But Ruffleclaw can't resist the draw of the “jingly-music” Tommy's mother makes on the piano, and when the family goes out, he attempts to play himself (while snacking on everything in the refrigerator). When Tommy's mother comes home and sees the mess, the secret is out and Ruffleclaw is banned from the home. But Tommy misses him and lobbies for his mother to allow him to return.

Ruffleclaw is a quick and easy read, illustrated with black-and-white drawings by the author. Elementary school-aged children will appreciate the bad manners and potty-humor of the earth monsters and are not likely to be troubled by the relative simplicity of the plot. While this book won't likely meet with the success of the author's New York Times bestsellers, it will keep children entertained through reading.

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Cornelia Funke has written numerous magical novels and chapter books for children. Her New York Times bestsellers include The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, and Inkheart, which was made into a major motion picture starring Brendan Fraser. Visit her online at and on Twitter @CorneliaFunke.

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