The Ruby Bottle

When Amber discovers a dusty red bottle in her elderly neighbou’s shed, she knows at once that it’s meant to be hers.

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When Amber discovers a dusty red bottle in her elderly neighbor’s shed, she knows at once that it’s meant to be hers. Then she meets the strange djinn that lives in the bottle, and is catapulted into an adventure she never imagined.

Amber’s had a few problems to deal with lately – bullies at school, a cranky teacher and her best friend moving away. Now at least she has a magical friend to talk to … if she can keep him safe.

Can Amber find the courage to deal with the bullying, make new friends and protect her djinn from harm?

And what’s the mysterious task she’ll have to perform that the djinn keeps hinting at?

Janet Reid

Janet Reid grew up on a dairy farm with hay sheds and pigsties, old abandoned farm machinery, and lots of open space.

It was a haven for hours of story weaving with her sister between milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, and sneaking milk for stray cats.

She went into teaching and taught in places from the cane fields in Central Queensland to Brisbane before retiring to concentrate on her writing. She lives on the northern outskirts of Brisbane with her husband, two sons and a very ‘human’ cat called Kelsey.


Long grass on either side of the dusty track swayed in the gentle breeze, as if nodding its approval of what Tim was about to do. But when the sun dipped behind a stray cloud, the afternoon seemed suddenly eerie, and Tim wished he was anywhere but heading towards Granny Rags’ house.

He looked back. The mailbox was hidden from view. Could he just pretend to go down to Granny Rags’? Say that she wasn’t at home? But somewhere deep down, he felt curious. Anyway, he thought, how scary could the old lady be?

He walked on and saw that the track didn’t just lead to Granny Rags’ house; it went further, past her place. Could he just keep going? But when he came level with the house, he stopped. It looked empty and derelict with its peeling paint and rusted roof. The front door beyond the sagging verandah was closed but the windows were open, and faded curtains danced in the breeze as though they were beckoning to him.

He stepped forward and pushed the gate. It creaked as he opened it. He stopped; looked around. There was no movement; no sound. TIm walked along the cracked path, with its weeds and grass poking through, and placed a hand tentatively on the railing of the front stairs. He looked up at the closed door, eager now to see what secrets it hid.

‘And what do you think you’re doing?’

Tim jumped, his heart ricocheting about in his chest. There, coming round one side of the house, was the old woman. He couldn’t see how old she really was; she was wearing a big hat that flopped down over her face. She brandished a black stick as she strode towards him, faster than Tim thought possible.

‘What do you want?’ she shouted, waving her stick in his face. Tim stepped back and his foot caught in a wide crack in the path. His hands waved in the air as he tried to right himself, but it was too late. He fell flat on his back beside the path, and the plastic bag holding the fish flew through the air and landed on his face.

‘Ugh,’ he said as he pulled himself backwards in fright, trying to shake the fish off, as if it were a snake. A shadow fell over him and, as he looked up, the old woman loomed above.

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Customer Reviews

1-5 of 2 reviews

  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    “The bright colours and bold style of the cover of The Ruby Bottle invite readers to open the book to start the story. When Amber finds a dusty red glass bottle in the shed of her elderly neighbour, Mrs Heggety she feels certain that the bottle is meant for her to keep. It doesn’t take long before she discovers a secret: a curious djinn named Jimell lives in the beautiful red bottle. As she gets to know his story, he tells her that she must perform an important task but cannot say what it is.
    While the story of the djinn in the bottle unfolds and the history of the bottle is revealed through Roger Heggety’s diary, another story interweaves through the narrative. Amber is lonely since her best friend, Bethany moved house and she is being bullied at school by Marissa and her friend, Rachel.
    The two stories merge in a tale of mystery and adventure that subtly explores the theme of friendships and relationships: new and old friends as well as young and old friends. Jimell encourages Amber to believe in herself and through his friendship and that of a new friend, Ricco she gains confidence to be independent and achieve by herself … not by magic.
    Readers aged 9 to 12 will be drawn into the intriguing mystery of The Ruby Bottle from the first pages till the final pages.”
    – Margaret Warner, BuzzWords online

    July 21, 2023
  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    “Things aren’t going well for Amber – especially since her best friend, Bethany, has moved far away. School work is getting harder for her and two girls in her class are bullying her at every turn. Then one day Amber receives a ruby red bottle and an old diary. And what is inside her ruby bottle? After she opens it her adventures really begin.”
    – Mary Mageau

    July 21, 2023

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