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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth!

illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Aug 2010
Imagination & Play, Values & Virtues, Rabbits
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2010
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 2 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 2 to 5


Winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for Illustration, and a finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

Roslyn Rutabaga is an exuberant, feisty young rabbit with a vivid imagination. One day Roslyn wakes up with a plan. She will dig the biggest hole on earth.With her father's quiet encouragement, Roslyn sets out on her big adventure. Obstacles abound -- a grumpy worm, a grouchy mole and a bone-hogging dog get in her way. Will she find a pirate's treasure or a dinosaur bone? Will she meet a penguin? Anything could happen!

Marie-Louise Gay has written and illustrated this humorous and endearing tale as an ode to the imagination and determination of children, who create their own worlds out of the little things in life.

About the author

MARIE-LOUISE GAY has achieved international acclaim as an author and illustrator of children’s books. She has won many awards, including two Governor General’s awards, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Marie-Louise’s very popular Stella and Sam series has been translated into more than fifteen languages and is loved by children all over the world. Her recent books include Any Questions? and Short Stories for Little Monsters. She lives in Montreal.

Marie-Louise Gay's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Choices
  • Winner, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection
  • Commended, Capitol Choices
  • Commended, Resource Links' Year's Best
  • Commended, Toronto Public Library First & Best Book
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award
  • Commended, Kirkus Reviews 2010 Best Children's Books for Friends and Family

Editorial Reviews

Gay's trademark breezy humour runs through this delightful book, and the heroine's infectious enthusiasm will have readers cheering.


Are we in store for a spate of 21st-century Rutabaga Tales? We can only hope so, if Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! is anything to go on.

Globe and Mail

...readers will find much to relish in the illustrations. Roslyn Rutabaga is one darned determined and adorable bunny.

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

...Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth does a great job illustrating a child's free spirit and imagination...

Everything Mom

It's an understated story about what happens when you bite off more than you can chew, and a touching portrait of a quietly supportive parent.

Publishers Weekly

Imaginative and adventurous children will identify with Roslyn in this simple, fun story.

School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Librarian Reviews

Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth

Roslyn Rutabaga wakes up one morning with a plan. This imaginative little rabbit wants to dig the Biggest Hole on Earth. “I might dig all the way to China,” she tells her father at breakfast. “Or even to the South Pole.” Her father gently supports her plan with encouraging comments such as, “You’d better take a sweater. It gets pretty cold in the South Pole.”

Roslyn finds the perfect place to dig in the middle of the lawn. However, her shovelling is halted by a grouchy worm who informs her that she is disturbing his front yard. When our intrepid bunny digs in other spots, a mole and then a dog complain that she is interfering with their spaces. Just as she is about to give up, Roslyn’s kindly father comes by with lunch and encouragement: “Roslyn, are you down there?... I can hardly see you.” Hope is resurrected.

Marie-Louise Gay has created yet another endearing character. Readers young and old will identify with this fanciful individual who holds her dreams close. How fortunate she is to have a father who gently provides reassurance and affirmation. Somehow we just know that Roslyn will continue to wonder and have adventures.

Gay’s uninhibited artwork provides a sense of positive energy. She illustrates with watercolours, acrylic, pastels, aquarelle crayons, pencil and collage on Kraft paper and handmade Japanese paper. Examining each picture is an adventure in itself, and many delightful surprises will be revealed in the details. Gay’s ability to distill this parent-child relationship in so few words and images is a feat to be lauded.

Although Roslyn may not ever reach the South Pole, she has certainly unearthed a solid place within this reader’s heart. Long live Roslyn Rutabaga and her aspirations!

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2010. Volume 33 No. 4.

Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth!

Roslyn would really like to meet a penguin so she’s going to dig a hole — not a tiny mouse hole or a medium-sized rabbit hole but the biggest hole on earth. But finding the perfect place to dig may be more of a challenge than she’d thought. Filled with Marie-Louise Gay’s delightful illustrations, this tale of the imaginative and determined young Roslyn will appeal to little adventurers everywhere. This title is also available in French as Roselyne Rutabaga remue ciel et terre!

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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