Ruby lives in the city and Grandpa lives in the country. They write to each other and share the events in their lives. Ruby tells about the flights of stairs in their apartment block and the sights of the city. Grampa tells Ruby about the naughty magpies that live in his old oak tree. Through the Magpie Song, the events of the story unravel - three magpies for Ruby the magpie girl, one for a heart-breaking goodbye and six for a wonderful surprise that will change Ruby's life forever.