CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 15 . . . .April 1, 2005
Ruby is a loud girl. So loud in fact, that the only people who can see beyond her loudness and truly appreciate her uniqueness are the saxophonist and jazz singer that live in the basement of her apartment complex.
Disillusioned by constantly being told to "turn it down," Ruby keeps quiet for a whole day. Her mother wonders if she is ill, but, in fact—Ruby has the blues. The aforementioned sax player and jazz singer take Ruby under their wings and teach her to sing. Before long, the whole neighborhood listens rapturously as Ruby sings the blues.
This simply told story of a young girl seeking acceptance will appeal to most children and adults. The storyline will be familiar to those who've read Effie by author Beverley Allinson, or Mama Don't Allow by author Thacher Hurd. Both stories have a slight humorous edge over Ruby Sings the Blues, particularly for younger children who may not be familiar with Jazz or Blues music. That said, Ruby Sings the Blues would be an excellent story for introducing this genre of music to young children.
The fabulous illustrations fill the story with an animation that the words never quite achieve. Jazzy characters with Picasso-like visages inhabit this inner city landscape. When Ruby sings, the colours on the page light up in vibrant reds so that even those unfamiliar with the sounds of Jazz can feel the energy.
Barb Taylor is an Early Childhood teacher and freelance writer.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.