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Ruby Hardcover – May 2, 1991
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1-- In a momentary lapse of concentration on the toy factory production line, a toy bear named Ruby is mistakenly given a spotted body--a material usually used to make leopards. Ruby's paw is summarily stamped "S," and she is tossed into a box full of other similarly stamped bears. Loaded with irresponsible optimism and self-esteem, Ruby clings to her belief that "S" stands for "Special" even after the other bear occupants assure her that it really stands for "Second Best." Confidently, Ruby leads all the second best bears to freedom outside the factory where they ultimately find homes. Predictably, Ruby herself is chosen from a toy store display of perfect toys by a child who loves Ruby because she has "character." Done in a realistic style, using colored pencils in a soft palette, the illustrations are the book's strength. The bears, depicted with humorously askew, ever-changing expressions, have child appeal. However, the undistinguished text is weakened by Ruby's exclamatory dialogue: "YIPPEE-E-E! 'S' IS FOR SPECIAL" and "WHOOPEE-E-E-E!" In addition, the story is didactic and predictable. Elizabeth Winthrop's Sloppy Kisses (Penguin, 1983) deals with similar issues in a more natural way with greater charm; and, in the picture book world of imperfect toy bears, Ruby will always be a second best to Don Freeman's Corduroy (Viking, 1968), who is really special. --Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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