Ruby Sings the Blues

Ruby Sings the Blues

4.0 1
by Niki Daly

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Ruby's voice is SO loud, it's driving everyone crazy! Then Ruby's jazz-playing neighbors come up with a plan to help her control her volume. Ruby finally learns to sing to her heart's content...without everyone needing earplugs! (Well, most of the time.) The perfect book-fun, celebratory, and maybe even a little helpful-for any family with its own irrepressible


Ruby's voice is SO loud, it's driving everyone crazy! Then Ruby's jazz-playing neighbors come up with a plan to help her control her volume. Ruby finally learns to sing to her heart's content...without everyone needing earplugs! (Well, most of the time.) The perfect book-fun, celebratory, and maybe even a little helpful-for any family with its own irrepressible Ruby.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A misfit embraces her overpowering voice, transforming an impediment into a gift in Daly's (Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky) inspiring story. When Ruby announces, "Hi, everybody-I'm home!" the words float in large black type across the opening spread, as an alarmed cat climbs a lamppost and neighbors leap to apartment building windows-one student yells, "Hey, Boom-box! I can't hear myself think!" In school, Ruby's classmates cover their ears and turn their backs: "She was just too loud to have around." When a disheartened Ruby returns home in silence, two neighbors, a jazz-singer and saxophonist, recognize that "she had the blues" and offer to teach her to sing. Every day after school, Ruby practices "sharp, zooming notes, likes the sounds of the city... and gentle, breathy notes like a cool evening breeze." Before long, her other neighbors are dancing on the sidewalk, and when Ruby sings at her school concert, "she was... well, just awesome." Full-bleed spreads depict a city street with a beat, while spot illustrations show the studious Ruby belting her notes. Hues of pale olives and gray-blues dominate the early pictures, but once Ruby starts to sing, rich reds and blues splash across the scenes. This uplifting tale may well inspire readers to embrace what makes them unique. Ages 4-8. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Exuberant urban dweller Ruby has a volume control problem. The people in her apartment building are not happy when she announces her arrival in ear-splitting shouts, and at school her fellow students avoid her like the plague. Ruby's parents and her teacher try to convince Ruby to lower her voice with minimum success. Everyone is at wit's end when help appears in the persons of Zelda and Bernard, jazz musicians who live in the basement of Ruby's apartment building. They recognize Ruby's potential and help her train her voice so she can become a wonderful singer, eventually giving an "awesome" performance at her school concert. Clever illustrations effectively convey a multiethnic and intellectual city neighborhood. Ruby, Mom, and Dad all wear glasses, and whimsical clothing designs reflect each owner's occupation. Zelda's dress sports piano notes and keys and she wears clef notes for earrings. Mom and Dad are artists and Ruby's apartment is filled with delightful touches of modern art. The print soars and swoops across the page reflecting Ruby's loud voice. Although Ruby is reformed, her spirit is not quenched. Every once in awhile she reverts to her earlier stentorian tones just to check that her volume control still works. A heart-warming story about how perceived liabilities can turn into assets, and talents lie hidden in surprising places. Combine with Loud Emily by O'Neill and Loudmouse by Wilbur for a risky but riotous story time. 2005, Bloomsbury Children's Books, Ages 5 to 7.
—Quinby Frank
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Ruby has an unusually loud voice. Her parents and teacher try to help her tone it down, but she continues to speak at deafening decibels. Her classmates don't want to play with her and she walks home feeling sad. However, Ruby's downstairs neighbors-a sax player and a jazz singer-appreciate her potential and teach her how to "use her volume control so that she could sing sharp, zooming notes like the sounds of the city...and gentle, breathy notes like a cool evening breeze." Best of all, she learns how to sing with feeling, and goes on to impress everyone at her school concert. Once in a while, though, she "turns it right up...just to check that her volume control is still working." The bouncy rhythm of the humorous text begs to be read-and even shouted-out loud. Large typeface lets readers know when Ruby is being boisterous. The slightly retro illustrations have a mid-20th-century aesthetic. Ruby's house has jazzy interiors and her mother is an artist whose works seem to be inspired by Picasso. Calder-like mobiles hang from the ceiling. The bespectacled youngster is charming and wears hip outfits, such as a white tube top with a cat design and red pedal pushers. Pair this book with Chris Raschka's Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop (Scholastic, 1997) and Rachel Isadora's Bring on That Beat (Putnam, 2002) for a be-boppin' storytime.-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Award-winning South African writer/artist Daly turns his attention once more to things musical with this jazzily illustrated tale of Ruby who, at first, can't control her volume. She's always loud. Her parents ask her to tone it down. Her teacher tries to get her to use her volume control. Most of her neighbors just complain. Only the saxophonist in the basement apartment and his Blues-singing lady friend recognize the potential of Ruby's voice. When she comes home quiet, alone, and sad, the two musicians ask if she'd like singing lessons. She learns when to belt and when to ease into the gentle breathy notes. Before long, everyone is amazed by her prowess. Computer-colorized pen-and-pencil cityscapes follow the lines of Ruby's shouts and songs. Spots of 50s patterns add a beatnik flavor to this tale of an outsider turned artist. Young audiences will enjoy even if they don't understand "the Blues." (Picture book. 4-9)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 9.87(h) x 0.12(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Niki Daly is the author and illustrator of numerous picture books, including Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky, a New York Times Best Illustrated book.

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Ruby Sings the Blues 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ruby loves to sing (which is good). Ruby can't control the loudness of her voice (which is bad for friends, neighbors, teachers, and passers by). Her parents have tried to gently tone her down; her teacher has also attempted to lower the decibels emanating from this small mouth. Regrettably, her classmates aren't as subtle - they call her 'Loud Mouth,' and just tell her to stay away. Of course, this is upsetting to Rudy; she grows sadder and sadder. Fortunately, there's a solution for Ruby's problem, which is found when two jazz musicians come calling. Author Daly uses a bit of humor and bold illustrations to show young readers that adjustments can be made that will make you and others happy.