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Rufus M.
Author Eleanor Estes
Illustrator Louis Slobodkin
Series The Moffats
Genre Children's Novel
Publisher Harcourt, Brace & World
Publication date
ISBN 9780152025779
Preceded by The Middle Moffat 
Followed by The Moffat Museum 

Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes is the third novel in the children's series known as The Moffats. Published in 1943, it was a Newbery Honor book. The title character is the youngest of four children growing up in a small town in Connecticut in 1918.


Each chapter in this book tells another story about Rufus and his family. Rufus has a great imagination. He uses it to create interesting friends for himself. For example, a flying horse named Jimmy and an invisible piano player who lives in the Saybolts. He decides to create a best friend, Cardboard Boy, who is also Rufus's enemy. He and his friend even ride around town on a bicycle.

Rufus is also quite persistent. He wants a library card, even though he can't read yet, so he works hard to learn to write his name. Things are tight for his family; it's not easy for Rufus' mother to earn enough to feed four children. So Rufus plants some special "Rufus beans". Unfortunately he can't resist digging them up every day to see if they are growing.

World War I is in its final year, and Rufus M. shows its effect on the family, with shortages of some food and coal. Rufus also writes to a soldier, at one point asking for a pony from France. The books ends with the family celebrating Armistice Day writing their dreams for the future on paper and burning them at the stove.

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