Reviews for Ruby Lu, Brave and True


Booklist Reviews 2004 January
Gr. 1-3. Look's Asian American perspective is always like a breath of fresh air in picture books. With Ruby Lu, she ventures for the first time into chapter-book territory, and the results are mixed. Her chapters are oddly disjointed, and the narrative doesn't flow from one chapter into the next. Rather it reads like a collection of nine short stories in which Ruby worries about going to Chinese school (Do they really serve snacks of roasted snakes?), the arrival of a cousin from China whom she's never met, and more. In addition, because the book is billed as the first in a series, Look introduces a load of details to establish character and setting, which threaten to overwhelm what little continuity there is. Still, there's some sparkle here, and Look certainly addresses the need for a recurring Asian American character. A little tightening may give future books the extra punch they need. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
Seven-year-old Ruby Lu practices her magic tricks, attends Chinese school on Saturdays, and prepares for the arrival of relatives newly emigrating from China. Ruby is a spunky child--and Wilsdorf's angular sketches are as full of life as Ruby herself. The text is more difficult than the format suggests because the language is peppered with Chinese words and poetic expressions. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 January #1
Welcome Ruby Lu! In what is billed as the first in a series, Ruby Lu bursts onto the scene with Oscar, her beloved baby brother, at her side. Whether she is furling her cape and performing backyard magic tricks or visiting her grandparents, PohPoh and GungGung, Ruby's enthusiasm for life bubbles out of her. She loves her house, her neighborhood, her second-grade teacher and, well, just about everything. When Oscar begins to talk, Ruby learns just how hard being a big sister can be. He reveals the secret of her best magic trick and easily learns the words to the songs at Saturday Chinese school, slowly deflating her ego. Young readers will identify with Ruby's excitement and good intentions, even when she is slowly and carefully driving her brother to Chinese school and parking the family car in the principal's spot. Wilsdorf's airy pencil illustrations joyfully bounce through the text. Hooray for Ruby Lu: she can ably join Hurwitz's Russell and Elisa, McGovern's Julian, and Cleary's Ramona on the shelves of excellent series fiction for new chapter-book readers. (Fiction. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2004 November/December
Almost eight, Ruby Lu joins a sparkling array of female phenomes-Olivia (the pig), Ramona Quimby, Junie B. Jones, Lily, (of purple plastic purse fame), Hermione Grainger, and India Opal Buloni. Ruby likes many things: her neighborhood and her neighbors, the sunshine, her school bus and school, her new wallet, and especially Mr. Tupahotu who is teaching her to become a great magician. Ruby has adventures, such as giving magic shows in her backyard; going to Chinese School on Saturdays; trying to teach Oscar, her baby brother, to talk; driving the family van to Saturday school all by herself; and preparing for relatives from China to live in their home for a while. Through vivid verbs, vibrant adjectives, witty, brisk, and believable dialogue, imaginative mischief, and creative conundrums, author Lenore Look invites readers into a world peopled by Chinese Americans. Readers are introduced to their foods, family relationships, customs, and vocabulary and are made to feel quite comfortable in this world. This delightful, up beat, and heart-warmingly funny book is illustrated with simple, expressive pen and ink drawings that enhance the text as all good illustrations should. Look includes "Ruby's Fantastic Glossary and Pronunciation Guide" for readers who do not speak the language; it's most helpful. Recommended. Sharon F. Williams, Library Media Specialist, Biltmore Elementary, Jacksonville, Florida © 2004 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 January #3
Look (Henry's First-Moon Birthday) introduces a plucky Chinese-American heroine in this chapter-book series opener. "The best thing about living on 20th Avenue South was everything," states the peppy if occasionally precious narrative, written from the perspective of almost-eight-year-old Ruby Lu. Readers meet Ruby's mother (who takes Chinese fan-dancing lessons), her father (a champion knitter and Scrabble fanatic), her grandparents (who mostly speak Chinese) and her baby brother, Oscar (whom she adores even though he steals her thunder while she's performing a backyard magic show). In mostly diverting episodes, Ruby desperately attempts to teach Oscar to talk after her friend's baby brother begins to speak; she introduces herself as a tree frog on the first day of Chinese school, when a classmate, also named Ruby, fancies herself a gecko; and in a hopelessly unrealistic frame climbs behind the wheel of the family car and drives herself and Oscar to school. Look's similes can strike a false note (e.g., when Oscar's antics distract Ruby's magic-show audience, she "felt all her love for him drying up like spilled soda on a hot sidewalk"), yet on the whole the character is vivacious enough to make the audience want to believe in her. A cousin from China moves in with Ruby's family at tale's end, setting the scene for the second installment, and kids who have taken a shine to the likable lass will look forward to her return. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 January #4
Look (Henry's First-Moon Birthday) introduces a plucky Chinese-American heroine in this chapter-book series opener. "The best thing about living on 20th Avenue South was everything," states the peppy if occasionally precious narrative, written from the perspective of almost-eight-year-old Ruby Lu. Readers meet Ruby's mother (who takes Chinese fan-dancing lessons), her father (a champion knitter and Scrabble fanatic), her grandparents (who mostly speak Chinese) and her baby brother, Oscar (whom she adores even though he steals her thunder while she's performing a backyard magic show). In mostly diverting episodes, Ruby desperately attempts to teach Oscar to talk after her friend's baby brother begins to speak; she introduces herself as a tree frog on the first day of Chinese school, when a classmate, also named Ruby, fancies herself a gecko; and-in a hopelessly unrealistic frame-climbs behind the wheel of the family car and drives herself and Oscar to school. Look's similes can strike a false note (e.g., when Oscar's antics distract Ruby's magic-show audience, she "felt all her love for him drying up like spilled soda on a hot sidewalk"), yet on the whole the character is vivacious enough to make the audience want to believe in her. A cousin from China moves in with Ruby's family at tale's end, setting the scene for the second installment, and kids who have taken a shine to the likable lass will look forward to her return. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 February
Gr 1-3-Ruby Lu makes her debut in this funny and charming chapter book. Full of joie de vivre, the eight-year-old loves her family, particularly her baby brother, Oscar; wearing reflective tape; and performing in her own backyard magic show. Plot development is episodic but steady as Ruby musters up her courage to attend Chinese school; she confronts mean Christina from California; and she decides to drive herself to school. (Her parents are frantic when their children and car are missing, but Ruby thinks that her biggest mistake was parking in the principal's spot.) Looming large is the fact that her cousin, Flying Duck, is emigrating from China and Ruby will have to share her bedroom. All is well, however, when Flying Duck gets off the airplane wearing reflective tape. Clever book design includes a playful copyright page and a small flip book of one of Ruby's magic tricks on the lower right-hand corner of each page. "Ruby's Fantastic Glossary and Pronunciation Guide" explains unfamiliar terms related to Chinese culture. Generous font, ample white space, and animated and active illustrations rendered in India ink make this a perfect choice for readers who are looking for alternatives to Barbara Park's "Junie B. Jones" books (Random).-Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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