- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
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, details—but 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