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Rufus Finds More Time

The Story

Meet Rufus.

Rufus is a squirrel and he is always dashing around.

Rufus lives in a place called Haste Hill, which has a magical woodland and a beautiful lake. People flock here every day to walk, play and go for picnics.

There is just one problem. Visitors drop so much rubbish! Rufus and his friends try to keep it clean, but this means there is no time to do anything else.

One day, everybody stops visiting Haste Hill and there is no litter anymore! Now Rufus can slow down and enjoy his hazelnut coffee in peace...and relax! But he soon realises there are so many more things he can do with his newfound time!

Along with his friends, Chichi the Mouse and Randolph the Rabbit, Rufus finds the time to learn all about the trees, plants and magical world around them.

About the author

Astrid is a mother to 4-year-old twins, Zac and Bella, who are both nuts about reading.

Astrid wrote her first children's story, The Bird and Bear, during lockdown as she saw an opportunity to help children to connect with the natural world through her light-hearted tales.

She has now authored 5 children's books. Rufus Finds More Time is the first to be published, which is beautifully illustrated by Alex Crump. Her whimsical animal kingdoms will inspire young imaginations and teach valuable lessons along the way.

About the Location

Did you know that Haste Hill is a real place?

Once upon a time it was an actual train station, but it is no longer in use. It is quite close to London, near a place called Ruislip. You can visit the old Haste Hill station - but you will have to ask your driver very nicely! It is what's known as a ghost station - marked with a sign and bench, and trains will only stop there if requested by a passenger.

The little choo-choo trains are real too! Every day they run along the miniature railway from Willow Lawn Station to Woody Bay Station taking passengers from the car park to the sandy man-made beach at Ruislip Lido. It is the longest 12-inch gauge railway in the country. The track measures 1.02-mile (1.64 km) around the reservoir and is maintained by the Ruislip Lido Railway Society (RLRS).

Ruislip Lido is a beautiful place to visit. It has truly magical woodland and a beautiful big lake which is home to ducks, geese, swans. It has a huge sandy beach, and a children's splash pad with water jets, and it's a safe place to go for a swim on a warm day!

You will have to visit it one day and see it with your own eyes otherwise you might just not believe me.


Titus the Tawny Owl has his eyes to the skies and is a tome of nocturnal knowledge. He loves to study the stars and count the constellations.

Rufus the Squirrel is always dashing around! He has lots of friends at his home in Haste Hill, and he loves to watch the choo-choo trains!

Wilfred the Woodpecker is full of tree smarts. He loves to fly around the forest, frolicking in foliage with his friends Cora the Cuckoo and Jojo the Jay.

Willy the Weasel is a wily hunter with his nose to the ground. He likes to blend in with the bushes and can tell you all about the plants and shrubs.

Archibald the Grey Squirrel is a sophisticated city critter. He camps out under the eaves of the Houses Of Parliament and impresses the wood-dwelling gang with street smarts and scintillating stories.

Delightful story book with an important message

I got this to read with my 5-year-old niece. She just loved the colourful characters and whimsical world created by author, Astrid Bylandt. This book was a joy to read for both of us - clever, witty, easy to follow and the beautiful illustrations help bring the story to life!
The topical angle makes the story more relatable. It sparks conversation and highlights important issues in a lighthearted way. The message of caring for our environment is universal, and I can see this being enjoyed by children of all ages.
Bitesize lessons help them to engage with the natural world and encourage curiosity. My niece has started pointing out the species from the book when she is in the park, which is lovely! The book is ideal for children who have missed out on learning during the pandemic.