Maggie's Reviews > Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything

Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything by Lenore Look
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's review
Apr 05, 2008

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bookshelves: other, lis-565, chapter-books

CIP: "After Ruby Lu's deaf cousin, Flying Duck, and her parents come from China to live with her, Ruby finds life challenging as she adjusts to her new family, tries to mend her rocky relationship with her friend Emma, and faces various adventures in summer school."

Ruby Lu is a feisty 2nd grader who will win the hearts of many readers with her misadventures as she learns to cope with new changes in her life. While not as funny as Sara Pennypacker's Clementine, this is a good book that will appeal to reluctant readers. One great thing about the Ruby Lu book is that the reader is introduced to new cultures and ideas, which is important in our increasingly diversified society.

School Library Journal review (July '06): "Gr 1-3-Ruby Lu takes her role as Smile Buddy to her deaf cousin, Flying Duck, so seriously that her work suffers, dooming the second grader to a vacation marred by summer school and a repeat of last year's swimming lessons. She is also dealing with the ups and downs of her relationship with her sometinies-best-friend, Emma. In the first two chapters, Ruby Lu's feelings about her cousin's arrival from China fluctuate from loving to disliking to accepting. Simple sentence structure, clear but varied word choice, and attention-grabbing transitions create a smooth chapter book that is suitable for early and reluctant readers. Black-and-white cartoon drawings add emotion, characterization, and humor, showing, for example, the exaggerated water-safety gear that the feuding Ruby Lu and Emma wear in the waist-deep pool before learning to swim. Pleased with accomplishing all 7 goals on her 12-step summer plan, Ruby Lu realizes too late that she has forgotten her summer reading, leaving readers anticipating another book fresh with third-grade misadventures. With exuberant impulsivity yet earnest introspection. Ruby Lu invites readers into a contemporary world that honors differences while ultimately celebrating universal moments of childhood-friendship, school, and self-realization.-Julie R. Ranelli, Kent Inland Branch Library, Stevensville, MD"

The Horn Book Magazine review (May/June '06): "In this follow-up to Ruby Lu, Brave and True, second-grader Ruby's cousin Flying Duck arrives from China. Ruby loves her cousin, but soon everyone starts speaking Cantonese instead of English at home, forks are replaced by chopsticks, and after teaching Ruby's baby brother Chinese Sign Language, Flying Duck knows what he wants before Ruby does. "I hate immigration!" sobs the histrionic Ruby. And that's just the beginning. The next few months include not one but two life-saving events (one at the pool and the other involving refrigerator magnets); a meeting in the principal's office for fighting; and swimming lessons for aquaphobic Ruby. This Ruby Lu offers a main character as spunky as Ramona and as moody as Judy, a bustling pace, and a difficult vocabulary that should challenge readers almost outgrowing early chapter books. Energetic ink cartoons are in line with this comic novel's frenetic atmosphere. J.M.B."


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