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Ruby Lu, brave and true



Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, ©2004.
Physical Description:
105 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
"An Anne Schwartz Book."
"Almost-eight-year-old" Ruby Lu spends time with her baby brother, goes to Chinese school, performs magic tricks and learns to drive, and has adventures with both old and new friends.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

640 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 4.1.

Reading Counts! 3.4.

Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 2.0 Quiz: 77364.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.4 5.0 Quiz: 36796 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:


Call Number
J Look, L.
J Look, L.

On Order



Most days the best thing about being Ruby is everything . Like when she's the star of her own backyard magic show. Or when she gives a talk at the school safety assembly on the benefits of reflective tape. Or when she rides the No. 3 bus all the way to Chinatown to visit GungGung and PohPoh.
And then there are the days when it's very hard to be Ruby. Like when her mom suggests Chinese school on Saturdays . Or when her little brother, Oscar, spills all of Ruby's best magician secrets. Or when her parents don't think she's old enough to drive!
Come along with Ruby Lu in her chapter-book debut -- which even includes a flip book of a magic trick -- and share the good and the not-so-good days with an (almost) eight-year-old Asian-American kid.

Author Notes

Kim Flottum brings a background of twelve years of plant science, honey bee research,  and basic farming to his thirty years as the editor of  Bee Culture  magazine where his main occupation is finding the answers to the multitude of questions that beginning, intermediate, and even advanced and experienced beekeepers bring to the table. He teaches beginning and advanced beekeeping courses, travels extensively to educate and lecture, and contributes to a variety of other publications on the basics of honey bees and beekeeping biology, the business of bees and pollination, producing and using varietal honeys, and a host of other subjects. His books, magazine articles, interviews, and blogs are widely read for both their fundamental and advanced contribution to beekeeping knowledge. His magazine platform gives voice to his social commentary on topics ranging from genetically modified foods to pesticide abuse to both good and bad government regulations in the industry. He is beekeeping's leading advocate for fundamental honey bee safety including insuring excellent honey bee health, providing extraordinary forage, and minimizing the use of agricultural pesticides.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-Ruby Lu makes her debut in this funny and charming chapter book. Full of joie de vivre, the eight-year-old loves her family, particularly her baby brother, Oscar; wearing reflective tape; and performing in her own backyard magic show. Plot development is episodic but steady as Ruby musters up her courage to attend Chinese school; she confronts mean Christina from California; and she decides to drive herself to school. (Her parents are frantic when their children and car are missing, but Ruby thinks that her biggest mistake was parking in the principal's spot.) Looming large is the fact that her cousin, Flying Duck, is emigrating from China and Ruby will have to share her bedroom. All is well, however, when Flying Duck gets off the airplane wearing reflective tape. Clever book design includes a playful copyright page and a small flip book of one of Ruby's magic tricks on the lower right-hand corner of each page. "Ruby's Fantastic Glossary and Pronunciation Guide" explains unfamiliar terms related to Chinese culture. Generous font, ample white space, and animated and active illustrations rendered in India ink make this a perfect choice for readers who are looking for alternatives to Barbara Park's "Junie B. Jones" books (Random).-Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Look (Henry's First-Moon Birthday) introduces a plucky Chinese-American heroine in this chapter-book series opener. "The best thing about living on 20th Avenue South was everything," states the peppy if occasionally precious narrative, written from the perspective of almost-eight-year-old Ruby Lu. Readers meet Ruby's mother (who takes Chinese fan-dancing lessons), her father (a champion knitter and Scrabble fanatic), her grandparents (who mostly speak Chinese) and her baby brother, Oscar (whom she adores even though he steals her thunder while she's performing a backyard magic show). In mostly diverting episodes, Ruby desperately attempts to teach Oscar to talk after her friend's baby brother begins to speak; she introduces herself as a tree frog on the first day of Chinese school, when a classmate, also named Ruby, fancies herself a gecko; and-in a hopelessly unrealistic frame-climbs behind the wheel of the family car and drives herself and Oscar to school. Look's similes can strike a false note (e.g., when Oscar's antics distract Ruby's magic-show audience, she "felt all her love for him drying up like spilled soda on a hot sidewalk"), yet on the whole the character is vivacious enough to make the audience want to believe in her. A cousin from China moves in with Ruby's family at tale's end, setting the scene for the second installment, and kids who have taken a shine to the likable lass will look forward to her return. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Seven-year-old Ruby Lu practices her magic tricks, attends Chinese school on Saturdays, and prepares for the arrival of relatives newly emigrating from China. Ruby is a spunky child+and Wilsdorf's angular sketches are as full of life as Ruby herself. The text is more difficult than the format suggests because the language is peppered with Chinese words and poetic expressions. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Gr. 1-3. Look's Asian American perspective is always like a breath of fresh air in picture books. With Ruby Lu, she ventures for the first time into chapter-book territory, and the results are mixed. Her chapters are oddly disjointed, and the narrative doesn't flow from one chapter into the next. Rather it reads like a collection of nine short stories in which Ruby worries about going to Chinese school (Do they really serve snacks of roasted snakes?), the arrival of a cousin from China whom she's never met, and more. In addition, because the book is billed as the first in a series, Look introduces a load of details to establish character and setting, which threaten to overwhelm what little continuity there is. Still, there's some sparkle here, and Look certainly addresses the need for a recurring Asian American character. A little tightening may give future books the extra punch they need. --Terry Glover Copyright 2004 Booklist