cover image Ruby Sings the Blues

Ruby Sings the Blues

Niki Daly, . . Bloomsbury, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-995-4

A misfit embraces her overpowering voice, transforming an impediment into a gift in Daly's (Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky ) inspiring story. When Ruby announces, "Hi, everybody—I'm home! " the words float in large black type across the opening spread, as an alarmed cat climbs a lamppost and neighbors leap to apartment building windows—one student yells, "Hey, Boom-box! I can't hear myself think!" In school, Ruby's classmates cover their ears and turn their backs: "She was just too loud to have around." When a disheartened Ruby returns home in silence, two neighbors, a jazz-singer and saxophonist, recognize that "she had the blues" and offer to teach her to sing. Every day after school, Ruby practices "sharp, zooming notes, likes the sounds of the city... and gentle, breathy notes like a cool evening breeze." Before long, her other neighbors are dancing on the sidewalk, and when Ruby sings at her school concert, "she was... well, just awesome ." Full-bleed spreads depict a city street with a beat, while spot illustrations show the studious Ruby belting her notes. Hues of pale olives and gray-blues dominate the early pictures, but once Ruby starts to sing, rich reds and blues splash across the scenes. This uplifting tale may well inspire readers to embrace what makes them unique. Ages 4-8. (June)