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by Lenore Look

illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf


School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ 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 sometimes-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 Island Branch Library, Stevensville, MD –Julie R. Ranelli (Reviewed July 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 7, p80)


  • ALA Notable Children’s Books – Middle Readers Category: 2007
  • School Library Journal Best Books: 2006


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Ages 0-8, Family, Friendship