From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–This deceptively simple tale eloquently explores the universal theme of making friends. “Hello, my name is Ruby,” says a small yellow bird as she encounters a variety of avian counterparts and discovers the shared pleasures of flying and walking. Another bird shows her that she need not feel small when she is among friends. But then one of her overtures, “Would you like to be my friend?” is met with rejection when a large bird with striking plumage says, “No, thank you.” In a poignant wordless illustration, Ruby stands in the rain, singing a sad song. After the sun dries her feathers, she meets a “curious bird” who peers at her from a great height. Ruby explains that a name “is a sound that is all yours,” and the pair exchange names: “ROOO-beee, ROOO-beee-OOO-beee-OOO-beee./SKEEP-wock, replied the bird. SKEEEEEP-wock-wock-wock.” Skeepwock is glad to meet her and tells her that he's heard her name before, leading her to a tree full of yellow birds just like her. Stead pairs a minimal amount of text with ingeniously crafted, mixed-media illustrations. Varying perspectives and brilliant use of color and line give voice to Ruby's emotions: from shy wonderment to abject rejection and, finally, infectious delight. This irresistible read-aloud, with its recognizable and much-loved theme, will resonate with children.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Nice to meet you, Ruby. Ruby is a small bird, and it can be tough out there in the big wide world for someone so petite. What makes it easier? A friend, of course, and so Ruby sets out to find one. “Hello, my name is Ruby,” she first introduces herself to a tall, plumed bird standing in water. The bird invites Ruby to fly with her, and so she does. She also walks alongside a bird the color of a parrot and even gets denied friendship by a peacock (which is followed by a poignant spread of Ruby, forlorn, in the driving rain). Eventually, she meets an emulike moppet named Skeepwock (after the sound it makes), who introduces Ruby to other birds just like her. And the more the merrier, as they say. Stead follows up A Home for Bird (2012) with an equally joyous celebration of color, texture, and memorable, winsome characters. One spread in particular, featuring many tiny red birds flying in the formation of an elephant, delights. The broad crayonlike strokes introduce a world of marshes, blue skies, and tundra, all of which are breathtakingly and simply rendered, but the focus is rightly on the expressive animals that populate it. Birds are certainly not the only creatures that are going to want to be friends with charmer Ruby. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ann Kelley