Hello, My Name Is Ruby

Philip Christian Stead, Author
Philip C. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-809-5
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013
Release date: 09/03/2013
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Stead’s (A Home for Bird) latest is simultaneously a story about making friends and a celebration of line, color, and form. Ruby’s small yellow body and big beak make her a distant cousin of Charles Schulz’s Woodstock, and the birds she introduces herself to sport an array of wacky beaks and frizzy feathers. She flies with a heron and meets a diminutive red bird who takes flight with the rest of its flock to form the silhouette of a huge red elephant in response to Ruby’s question, “Are you ever afraid because you are small?” One bird refuses her overtures: “No thank you,” it says, and stalks away; Ruby stands dejected, then pushes on. To an ostrichlike bird, she explains, “A name is a sound that is all yours... ROOO-beee, ROOO-beee.” “SKEEP-wock,” the bird replies. “I have heard your name before.” Skeepwock knows where there are many other Rubys—giving Ruby the chance to acquaint new friends and old. Ruby exemplifies the willingness to see the good in everyone, and Stead’s artwork echoes her joyousness. Ages 2–6. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)
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