A Fire Engine for Ruthie

Overview

Ruthie loves to visit Nana, but they don’t always like to play with the same things. Ruthie loves fire engines and motorcycles, while Nana loves dolls and dress-up clothes. Nana’s neighbor, Brian, gets to play with fire engines and motorcycles. So why doesn’t Ruthie? Energetic illustrations capture the loving relationship between Ruthie and Nana in this insightful and sensitive story.

Ruthie's Nana suggests playing tea party and fashion show during their visit, but ...

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Overview

Ruthie loves to visit Nana, but they don’t always like to play with the same things. Ruthie loves fire engines and motorcycles, while Nana loves dolls and dress-up clothes. Nana’s neighbor, Brian, gets to play with fire engines and motorcycles. So why doesn’t Ruthie? Energetic illustrations capture the loving relationship between Ruthie and Nana in this insightful and sensitive story.

Ruthie's Nana suggests playing tea party and fashion show during their visit, but Ruthie is much more interested in the vehicles that a neighbor boy is playing with as they pass his house each day.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A good choice for challenging gender stereotypes and creating a culture of acceptance." KIRKUS REVIEWS Kirkus Reviews

"positive depiction of imaginative play...illustrations are full of homey details...many young listeners will relate to Ruthie's preference" BCCB Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This book hits the mark on three solid counts—a real story, good pacing, and deliciously full artwork" BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA

"a protagonist with interests that buck societal stereotypes...vibrant watercolors pack in plenty of detail" PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
As with Newman's The Boy Who Cried Fabulous (reviewed April 12), the author here introduces a protagonist with interests that buck societal stereotypes. Ruthie and her grandmother spend lots of time together, buying Ruthie's favorite foods, checking out her favorite books and playing on her favorite swing set. But with each outing, Ruthie longingly observes the neighbor boy, Brian, playing with his noisy vehicles. " `Do you have a train to play with at your house, Nana?'... `No,' says Nana, `but I have some beautiful dolls waiting at home for you.' " While Nana encourages tea parties and flower painting, Ruthie prefers the roar of toy motorcycles and fire engines. Moore (I Love You, Stinky Face) balances the enjoyable times the pair shares (as in a vignette of their playdate at the park) with the slight disappointment Ruthie feels when her preferences don't mesh with Nana's. The vibrant watercolors pack in plenty of detail and the cheery hues of the busy spreads echo Ruthie's sunny optimism, as do her short, curly red locks. Nana eventually learns to let her granddaughter be her guide into more boisterous play, though readers may feel that the ending goes too far when Nana gets carried away with Brian's trains herself. Young and old will likely appreciate both protagonists' points of view. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ruthie pays an event-filled visit to her grandmother, Nana. Each day the two of them do something especially designed to please Ruthie, such as shop for her favorite foods, read favorite books or go to the park to swing. Nana has prepared many surprises for Ruthie, too, like playing dress-up and having a tea party. Yet Ruthie is more interested in the neighbor boy's activities as he plays with all sorts of wheel toys. Nana is at first puzzled by Ruthie's responses, but she eventually encourages Ruthie to follow her heart, and in doing so finds that she also enjoys all the wheel toys. This book compares with Charlotte Zolotow's William's Doll and could easily be used to discuss gender roles and stereotyping. It also goes beyond that, though, in showing two very different people who come to accept and value each other's interests. The book has lots of onomatopoeia words, too, which make it a fun read-aloud. 2004, Clarion Books, Ages 3 to 7.
—Sheryl O'Sullivan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Ruthie is visiting her grandmother for a few days. Coming back from the grocery store, they pass a young neighbor, Brian, playing with a fire truck. Ruthie hopes that Nana has a truck like that at her house but she doesn't, and the woman suggests that they play with dolls instead. Before long, the girl has an imaginary fire going and turns a cardboard box into a pretend truck. The next day, Brian is playing with a train set. Ruthie is not interested in putting on a fashion show with dress-up clothes, so she creates a train out of chairs. So it goes until Nana asks her what she'd like to do, and Ruthie asks to visit Brian. They play with all sorts of transportation toys and when Nana arrives to pick up her granddaughter, she joins in the fun. The next day, the two visit the toy store to buy a fire engine and a train. Moore's realistic illustrations, done in watercolor, are pleasant enough, but they cannot carry this predictable story. Old favorites, such as Charlotte Zolotow's William's Doll (HarperCollins, 1972), do a better job of addressing issues of male-female role expectations.-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618159895
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesléa Newman is the author of more than 40 books, including Matzo Ball Moon and Remember That. She lives in Massachusetts.

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