Hello, My Name Is Ruby

illus. by author. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-809-5.
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, CA

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