Ruby and the Sniffs

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
More than a decade after her first adventure, another plucky mouse stars in Ruby and the Sniffs by Michael Emberley with an urban twist on a familiar tale. When Ruby hears noises from the apartment upstairs, she investigates, suspecting cat burglars. Instead she finds three humongous hogs, the friendly Sniff family. Ruby finds herself struggling to escape their (literally) suffocating kindness, smothered both by Momma Sniff's "too soft" chair and by Baby's Sniff's abundant posterior. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ruby is back as her spunky self, this time to solve a mystery in her apartment building. Sneaking away from her babysitter during hide and seek, she investigates suspicious noises upstairs only to be surprised by three rather uncouth pigs. At first, Rudy suspects that they are robbers. Once the pigs convince her that they have just moved in, Rudy witnesses their discoveries, reminiscent of "The Three Little Pigs": "Someone's been nibbling the slippery gristle!" She is also the recipient of some rough, but well-meaning, hospitality as she is dumped into chairs that are too hard, too soft, and too broken. In the end, she discovers a real cat burglar hiding in the pigs' closet. The cat's escape is stopped cold by the babysitter who has come seeking Rudy. Rudy apologizes for running off and how can anyone not forgive this delightful little mouse? How can anyone not love such an entertaining story? The dialog is filled with fun sayings that kids will enjoy, like, "Don't get your tail in a twist," "You are truly one stinkin' rat!" and "Frizzle my bristles!" And the illustrations are as cute as the text. 2004, Little Brown and Company, Ages 4 to 8.
—Kathryn Erskine
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-"Ready?" asks Mrs. Mastiff. "I was born ready," announces Ruby when her baby-sitter starts counting for their hide-and-seek game. The sitter exacts a promise that Ruby will not hide outside the apartment, but this feisty mouse has a history of disobeying orders as seen in Ruby (Little, Brown, 1990; o.p.), Emberley's takeoff on "Little Red Riding Hood." Besides, how can she resist those mysterious noises in the apartment upstairs? Her investigations are interrupted by the arrival of the new tenants, three pigs called the Sniffs, and although she is hiding beneath one of their beds, they sniff her out immediately. They think she has scared off burglars and offer her a seat but-you guessed it-one is too hard, one too soft, and one breaks under the weight of Baby Sniff and Ruby. But the real burglar is yet to be discovered, and how he is brought to justice makes for a rousing finale. Emberley's watercolor, colored pencil, and pastel cartoon illustrations are filled with visual jokes. Ruby is reading The Three Bears, a foreshadowing of her imminent Goldilocks-like adventure. Three enormous snouts cover a spread as the porkers discover her. Mistaken identity and phrases like "Frizzle my bristles!" and "Don't get your tail in a twist, son," add to the humor. Although the text is long and many of the jokes may be beyond the youngest readers, both story and illustrations work wonderfully together to create a hilarious romp that will keep older children laughing and rereading.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ruby, an imaginative little mouse with a big attitude, hears a "thumpity-bump!" from upstairs and simply must investigate. Tricking her babysitter, Mrs. Mastiff, with a fraudulent game of hide-and-seek, Ruby ventures into the upstairs apartment, where she encounters the three Sniffs-new neighbor pigs whose denseness is equaled by their supreme good nature. Emberley rings the changes on the "Three Bears" motif, but this offering is not a simple fracturing of the familiar tale, but a rather overblown romp that pits the highly savvy Ruby against the very numb, rather gross (they are pigs, after all) Sniffs, throwing in a genuine cat burglar to round out the story. If the elegance of the original story is lost in the chaos, kids will nevertheless enjoy the street-smart Ruby and the dimwitted pigs. The very funny cartoon vignettes compensate for the overlong text, depicting a pointy-nosed Ruby in red overalls and oversized baseball cap (on backwards, natch) and a set of fat, hairy Sniffs, the genteel Mrs. Mastiff adding a touch of Steigian elegance. Not quite just right, but close enough. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316236645
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.66 (w) x 11.22 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Emberley is the New York Times best-selling illustrator of You Read to Me, I'll Read to You, written by Mary Ann Hoberman, and has written several books of his own, including Ruby and Dinosaurs! A Drawing Book.
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