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Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea Paperback – January 20, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Ten-year-old Ruby, invention queen, is named after the famous Rube Goldberg who made amazingly complicated machines that do really simple things. This year, Ruby wants nothing more than to get first place in the science fair. She is faced with a dilemma when she realizes she hasn't got an idea good enough to win, and, when she finally thinks of one, she needs the help of her worst enemy to get it done. Soon, all of Ruby's time is focused on her super secret invention while she shuts out everyone—from her grandfather to her best friend. Ruby is a fun character with a great heart. She learns a lesson about priorities and about being a good friend. The tale includes some history on the famous Goldberg's life and inventions. This story, complemented by illustrations throughout, is great for kids interested in science.—Terry Ann Lawler, Burton Barr Library, Phoenix, AZ --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Named for the inventor and cartoonist Rube Goldberg, Ruby is the youngest of a family whose members all enjoy science. Ruby, in addition to sharing the family trait, feels a strong sense of competitiveness both at home and in the classroom. She’s constantly thinking about or working out mechanical ideas, even when she should be paying attention in reading class or listening to her best friend’s personal worries. And sometimes she gets so obsessed with her ideas that she ends up hurting others’ feelings. But she stumbles on an opportunity to be cooperative when her archnemesis at the annual science fair has his project proposal rejected, and she enlists his help to build a newspaper-fetching Rube Goldberg machine for her grandfather, who is depressed after the death of his dog. Ruby, who is much like Ramona Quimby, tries very hard to be caring, even if she sometimes misses the point, and Humphrey capably manages to develop her character without allowing the story to become didactic. Grades 3-5. --Francisca Goldsmith --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
As a mother who happens to also be an engineer, I can't say enough how thrilled I am to see books like this one, with a female protagonist who is unapologetically in love with engineering (although it's never called out specifically as engineering in the book). And even more than that, there is never any questioning of her skills because of her gender, and no mention of it being uncommon among girls. Ruby's best friend is into dance, and that's fine. Ruby's into contraptions and building stuff, and that's fine too. There's a boy, initially a rival but who ends up becoming a friend, who helps Ruby, but it's clearly a collaboration rather than having a boy swoop in to teach her or save the day. This sort of treatment of the topic of girls and STEM subjects is long overdue, and it's done incredibly well in this book.
Not to mention, Ruby is just a likeable character and the story is compelling. She has a relatable voice, and the description of her Rube Goldberg contraption fantastic, especially to the inventive mind of a child.
My son asks regularly if this book has become a "series" yet, because he wants there to be more stories about Ruby and her contraptions. For now I guess we'll have to just be happy to re-read this again.
Ruby is persistent and enthusiastic. And the most important thing she learns from her science fair experience, is "how to be a good friend."