cover image Reckless Ruby

Reckless Ruby

Hiawyn Oram. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58744-7

Swaddled in red, Ruby is so beautiful that her family expects her to ``grow up and marry a prince who'll wrap her in cotton and only bring her out for glittering banquets.'' Dismayed by these ``dreadful predictions,'' the girl decides to reshape her future by becoming ``very, very reckless''--a certain antidote to her precious charm. She spends her days dancing on her bicycle's handlebars, diving into fishbowls, eating ``fire, and swords, and porcupines'' and running away to sea until she is so covered in bumps, bruises and bandages that no self-respecting prince would give her a second look. This extravagantly droll story embraces the unlikeliest of scenarios and wildest flights of the imagination with a sly and cool glee--a sophisticated slyness that may, in fact, be over the heads of some youngsters. While the slight plot seems to serve primarily as a vehicle for Ross's typically zany, unrestrained artwork, its very silliness should prove appealing. Children will applaud this doggedly determined heroine and her dramatic transformation. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)