Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hark, it's me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan and Binny

By the end of the book, you’ll feel as if Ruby Lee is a real person — that you know her personally. Her hopes, dreams, disappointments and flaws are all exposed, pulling you into the story so you experience the same sadness, joy and pride as Ruby Lee does through the book. Kids Book Review

Children love to take on class 'jobs' such as lunch monitor, line leader or messenger.  Ruby Lee is desperate to be the messenger. She is the best in her class at announcing :

Hark, it's me, Ruby Lee
Fear not I am the bearer of good news

For some reason Mrs Majestic-Jones never seems to pick Ruby Lee. Her friend, with the delightful name George Papadopoulos, tries to help but on Monday Siena is chosen again and Ruby Lee is made litter patrol officer. At least the birds love her because she shares the lunch scraps. On Tuesday Siena is absent. George suggests Ruby Lee try sitting quietly as still as a mouse. It works and she is now the class messenger but her excitement and exuberance means things do not quite go to plan.

This little cautionary tale is a delight to read aloud.  It is filled with delicious invented words like:

Spockled Frocklewockle!

I especially enjoyed the opening sentences :
Ruby Lee loves pockets, peaches, puddles and polka dots.
She loves humming and hopping and handstands at dusk.

It would be fun to read this book with a class at the start of the school year or term when you are deciding on your class roles and responsibilities. Perhaps you could make a chart with the jobs and then add the personal qualities required for each task and compare these with Ruby Lee and her classmates.

I wonder if this book might be short listed for our CBCA awards which will be announced in a few weeks - it certainly deserves to be. You can see some of the illustrations here. You might also take a look at the illustrator web siteLisa Shanahan is the author of one of my favourite read aloud titles Bear and Chook by the sea.

After reading Hark, it's me, Ruby Lee try to find Jennie's hat by Ezra Jack Keats.

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