By Elizabeth Wroten
Chapter Book Review: Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look
On 22, Oct 2015 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten
From Goodreads: Most days the best thing about being Ruby is everything. Like when she’s the star of her own backyard magic show. Or when she gives a talk at the school safety assembly on the benefits of reflective tape. Or when she rides the No. 3 bus all the way to Chinatown to visit GungGung and PohPoh.
And then there are the days when it’s very hard to be Ruby. Like when her mom suggests Chinese school on Saturdays. Or when her little brother, Oscar, spills all of Ruby’s best magician secrets. Or when her parents don’t think she’s old enough to drive!
Oh my god this was so funny! Especially the chapter where Ruby drives herself and her brother to Chinese school. Really the best part of Ruby Lu, though, was the functional, if a bit quirky, family. Her dad loves to knit and her mom is great at sewing. Her grandparents live nearby and she loves to visit them. But the family isn’t fraught with problems or conflict. Ruby even has a new brother and instead of struggling with jealousy or difficult feelings she thinks he’s great. That is until he starts giving away her magic trick secrets.
That’s right, Ruby runs a magic show for the neighborhood kids after school. Her mom makes her all kinds of fantastic capes and she tries out the magic tricks she learns at her magic class. Ruby is quirky and bit sassy, but not nearly as much as someone like Junie B. Jones or Dory Fantasmagory. Give this book to kids you know would like Clementine, but aren’t quite ready to tackle that reading level or want a more diverse cast of characters.
This would make a great read aloud for parents and kids (or librarians and kids) because ,while the humor won’t be lost on kids, adults will certainly appreciate it. It’s a great example of a chapter book where kids can see themselves and their families, too. Or see their friends reflected. Ruby is American and so are her parents, but they are also Chinese. And like many Chinese kids they go to Chinese school on Saturdays to learn about culture and language. Her grandparents speak Cantonese and they have a cousin come from China to live with them. I’m not Chinese so I can’t speak to it’s authenticity, although it rang true when compared to what I have had Chinese-American students relate to me about their families. Plus Lenore Look is Chinese so I hope it’s close. Especially because it was such a fun and engaging book. It’s also a series starter which is great for this reading level for keeping kids engaged.