Monday, July 18, 2011

Picture book review: Ruby Valentine Saves the Day by Laurie Friedman; illustrations by Lynne Avril

Reading level: Ages 4-8
School & Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (November 2010)

Blurb: It's Valentine's Day and Ruby won't let anything spoil the celebration! In this follow-up to the popular Love, Ruby Valentine, Ruby's favorite day of the year rolls around again, and she and Lovebird work feverishly to plan the perfect party for everyone in Heartland. But when Valentine's Day arrives, an unexpected snowstorm threatens to ruin all of Ruby's plans. Will Ruby find a way to save the day, or will everyone in Heartland have to wait until next year to celebrate Another heartwarming tale of a girl who discovers the true meaning of Valentine's Day.
Review: Some picture books really grab at your heartstrings as you read them to some little person you care for. Laurie Friedman’s Ruby Valentine Saves the Day is such a book. Ruby is a charming story guaranteed to wrestle a smile from anyone who reads this cute story while admiring the adorable illustrations by Lynne Avril (I dare you to go through the 32 pages without chuckling). The story is about Ruby who lives on a mountain named Heartland along with her bird, aptly named Lovebird. Though not mentioned, Lovebird looks like a cockatoo and he helps Ruby prepare for her favorite day of the year—Valentine’s Day. Together they create invitations then mail them off to the townsfolk. As soon as the mail carrier is out of sight, they go about preparing since having a party is a very important deal. The house must be spotless, the decorations all set. Except there is one thing Ruby forgot about—the weather. Still, she busies herself with getting ready. The morning of the big day Ruby looks out her window to find the mountain blanketed with snow. Oh no, what about the party?

What I really liked about Ruby was her smile and character. Valentine’s Day is her day and with some improvising—or rather, a wonderful suggestion from her bud, Lovebird—she does not let a little thing like snow get her down. The two pack a sled and head out to take the festivities down below for everyone to enjoy. That two page spread as they travel down was reminiscent of a similar scene in Dr. Seuss' holiday classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My son loved how Ruby's best friend is a boy bird and how Lovebird talks and always helps out. I smiled at Ruby and Lovebird’s matching pink earmuffs and scarves. Avril's creations with their pastel pinks and blues, made this story sparkle into something special. With the help of her neighbors, Ruby learns party favors or location don’t make a celebration special; the people you are with do.

Ruby Valentine Saves the Day is a wonderful picture book--a small story with tremendous heart. Share this with someone you love any day of the year.

Rating: We loved it.

Cover comment: Charming and cute. Love Ruby's expression and Lovebirds' is priceless.

Book source: Net Galley

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