by Lenore Look
Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
I first picked up this book because I'm trying to read through the Virginia Readers' Choice Books and decide which ones I'll read aloud to my class this year. Ruby Lu made the cut. She will be read aloud, just as soon as I finish Jack Plank Tells Tales (not on the Virginia Readers' choice list, but I thought my class would love it).
Ruby Lu is an American Born Chinese girl who doesn't speak Chinese. She can't talk to her grandparents in Chinese, but she insists that she still communicates with them. She goes to Chinese school on Saturdays and gets into many adventures or mishaps with her brother, Oscar.
What I loved most about this book is the spunk and vivaciousness of Ruby Lu. She is an unforgettable character along the lines of Moxy Maxwell, Clementine, and Ida B. If you like books with spunky girl characters, this is one you'll want to read. It's an easy chapter book, and would be good for a child who wants to read a chapter book but also wants a fun, quick read. It would also be a good book to make a connection for another child who lives within the bicultural experience.
I loved the book for it's pure simple story, but I can't wait to use it as a mentor text also. For my writers, I want to show them how Lenore Look uses simple, short sentences to create a rhythm. She also has wonderful descriptions that aren't lengthy and she uses fun figurative language. My favorite: "Ruby could feel herself getting warm. Drums pounded inside her chest. Her hands balled into fists. Then she felt absolutely hot. She was hotter than popcorn. Then she popped." (p. 45).
I also love the voice of Ruby Lu. Even though this book is not told in first person, Ruby Lu's voice is loud and clear. I plan to use it along with Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little and Ida B when I read good examples of stories with VOICE.
Even better, Lenore Look has another Ruby Lu book already out. Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything came out last year and will be in paperback next week.