Ruby's Baby Brother

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This is a classic new-baby story with a twist. When Ruby waves a magic wand, she turns her brother into a bat. Or, she makes a rocket ship to blast Leon up to the Moon. Thus, the transition into being an older sister becomes manageable through play and fantasy. Throughout this plucky character's flights of fancy, readers experience a very real, recognizable child's voice and perspective. Ruby wonders, for example, whether her mom is "the same as before," after giving birth. Later, she remarks on Leon's "strange gurgle." Her wariness is believable, as is her imaginative streak. What is less convincing is her sudden, rather than gradual, shift from suspicion to acceptance of her brother. It's hard to fathom that she really thinks changing a diaper is a "fun thing to do." And her spontaneous exuberance about playing "queen and knight" with the infant, who is seemingly too young to even lift his head, seems far-fetched. Still, this book offers a refreshing take on the universal experience of an only child gaining a sibling. The illustrations portray a warm African American family living in a beautiful, lush green neighborhood. The cartoon art is done in a humorous style. Each page includes whimsical details that help children appreciate the sparkle of Ruby's imagination, such as her cat alarm clock with pointed ears. Youngsters are sure to notice and appreciate details like this, which bring the character and her wonderful world to life. The writing style might not be flawless, but this is a sweet book, and a welcome addition to the new-baby-in-the-family shelves.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY
Kirkus Reviews
In White and Latimer's third story about Ruby, following Ruby's School Walk (2010) and Ruby's Sleepover (2012), baby brother Leon is arriving home, and Ruby is nervous. She doesn't even want to meet this smelly, noisy thing that will steal her toys, does she? "I hear a strange gurgle and hiccupy noise. / I don't want to see him. I hate little boys!" Ruby conjures up ways to be rid of the new intruder, imagining turning him into a bat and blasting him into space with a rocket. Yet the moment Leon clutches her finger, the passion she poured into her fears switches to the opposite--grand make-believe stories with a new sidekick. White once again captures Ruby's creative energy in rhythmic couplets, while Latimer's double-page illustrations, done in acrylic paints and watercolor, reveal both the actual and imagined adventures. Although the premise is not original, readers will be captivated by this big-hearted girl and all the smaller details Latimer includes, such as a recurring firefly, Ruby's stuffed cat, the childlike art displayed on Ruby's walls and the stick figures on the endpapers. This book was thoughtfully made and ends with Ruby lovingly holding Leon in her arms, full of big-sister pride. Even though shelves are crowded with new-sibling books, this one is a strong addition. It is the first in the series to be available in a Spanish edition, El hermanito de Ruby. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846869501
  • Publisher: Barefoot Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 396,410
  • Lexile: AD520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.49 (w) x 10.67 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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