cover image Ruby’s Reunion Day Dinner

Ruby’s Reunion Day Dinner

Angela Dalton, illus. by Jestenia Southerland. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-301574-6

This big-hearted picture book debut features Ruby, a Black girl affectionately nicknamed Lil’ Bit, whose family gathers for a yearly reunion potluck. Everyone makes a signature dish for the soul food feast, and each relative in turn tells Ruby that she is too small to help. On the verge of giving up on the hot day, she spies a grove of backyard lemon trees—and gets inspired. Through Ruby’s narration, Dalton offers rich, mouth-watering descriptions of the food: “Peering over the counter, I see: Momma’s gooey peach cobbler bubbling up the sides of her favorite baking dish, the golden, crispy crown of Daddy’s perfect mac ’n’ cheese.” Warm digital art by Southerland makes excellent use of light and shadow, and offers a lovely portrait of an expressive family with varying hairstyles and body types. This hopeful, mouthwatering narrative showcases tender family rapport. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]