Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ruby Lu, Star of the Show

Ruby Lu, Star of the Show
written by Lenore Look; illustrated by Stef Choi
2011 (Atheneum)
Source: Mebane Public Library

In her third book, Ruby Lu and her cousin Flying Duck are entering third grade. Dad has made waffles for the first day and Ruby is looking forward to taking her new dog Elvis to obedience school later in the afternoon. During the summer, Elvis appeared on Ruby's doorstep and right away showed that he was not a regular dog. While refusing to heel or sit like a well trained dog, Elvis can ride a bike and balance plates. Most importantly, Elvis is there for Ruby when she needs him and she is going to really need him this afternoon. When Ruby comes home from school, her father breaks the news that he has lost his job and will not be able to afford dog obedience classes for Elvis. Ruby's mother must now go to work while her father stays home looking for a job. Ruby's adventures in the book feed off her dad's job loss and the changes he goes through.

Like the classic Ramona and Her Father in its time, this book is very relevant with the arc of Ruby's father losing his job, going into the doldrums, and reinventing himself and how Ruby deals with these significant changes in her life. The last two chapters of Star of the Show are especially poignant. I'm pretty impressed that an early reader can tackle such an issue. Ruby Lu continues to be a wonderful character that I hope we will see more of in the future.

Ruby Lu, Star of the Show is an excellent choice for studying characters and how the plot revolves around their reactions to problems. This book would also work as a text to demonstrate beginning, middle, and end.

Other reviews:
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