Barbara L. Talcroft
Ruby Paints a Pictureby Susan Hill, Margie Moore
A lesson in seeing the best in everyone.
Ruby adds her friends into her painting and gets a smile of approval from each of them.
Children's LiteratureThis unassuming tale in the "I Can Read" series continues the adventures of Ruby the raccoon (not to be confused with Rosemary Wells's Ruby) and her animal friends. As Ruby paints a picture of a tree, she adds portraits of Fiona Fox, Bunny Rabbit, Dan Duck, and Carlos Crow, but each complains that his or her best feature has been left out. When the painting is revealed at the end, readers can see that Ruby has added what she believes is each animal's "very best part," one they all have in common. Kids can discuss what this is and even draw, write, or tell about their own best features. That said, a few questions come to mind: why are raccoon, fox, and rabbit all the same shade of russet, especially when so much is made of individual characteristics? Why is the attribute they share so predictable and something animals cannot really do anyway? (Despite clothing and dialogue, Beatrix Potter's memorable characters always retain their true animal natures and behaviors.) In the absence of any water, oil, or rags, how is Ruby managing to paint at all? Details, detailsbut distinctiveness and learning live in the details. With its short sentences and frequent repetitions, this bland little tale will allow many beginning readers to sail through its pages. But how long will they remember it? 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 4 to 8.
Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library JournalK-Gr 2-Large, well-spaced text with lots of repetition works well with the endearing illustrations of woodland animals. Ruby, a raccoon, is all set to paint a picture of a tree, but her friends come along one by one and want to be included in the painting. She is very accommodating. When she puts her paintbrush down, her friends all feel that important defining aspects of themselves are missing, but Ruby insures them that their "best parts" are in her masterpiece-their smiles. Animals in pinafores and overalls are often used in children's books, but, in this case, the ink-and-watercolor illustrations are fresh, stimulating, and full of charm. The story includes common sight words and complete sentences, and new vocabulary is simple enough for sounding out. Although the theme is not unusual, the ending is very satisfying.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsRuby the raccoon returns for a second appearance in this engaging series for readers who are just beginning to read real stories on their own. In this volume, Ruby enthusiastically takes up painting and, one by one, her animal friends appear and ask to be included in her first picture. In cumulative fashion, Ruby paints each one of her four friends in turn-all on the same piece of paper. The animals all demand that Ruby include their best features, such as the fox's red tail and the bunny's long ears, and she solves this artistic dilemma by including the best part of each friend: their faces. The story's gentle tone is well-matched by Moore's watercolor-and-ink illustrations of the appealing animal characters. Sharp-eyed young readers might notice little Ruby is left-handed, a subtle touch that adds another facet to Ruby's emerging personality as a spunky little raccoon who likes to try new things. (Easy reader. 5-8)
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