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Ruby's Wish

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author's grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby's Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage.

"Told in a concise, straightforward style, the narrative provides just enough background for young children. With crimson outlines and highlights, the gouache art features a vibrant, red Ruby set against predominantly neutral backgrounds. Ruby's tale will supplement multicultural and women's history units and serve as a springboard to other family stories." -- Booklist

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Description Review

First-time kids' book author Shirin Yim Bridges uses a tender family story to travel back to turn-of-the-century China and teach a proto-feminist lesson about perseverance and self-belief.

Idiosyncratic young Ruby lives in a large (and wealthy!) Chinese family, in a gigantic "house filled with the shrieks and laughter of over one hundred children." She stands out because she insists on always wearing red, the color of celebration ("Even when her mother made her wear somber colors like her other cousins, Ruby would tie up her jet-black hair with red ribbons") but even more so because of her quiet dissatisfaction with the family's traditional gender inequity. Determined to study reading and writing--even when it means long hours catching up on more wifely training--Ruby eventually comes to the attention of her grandfather, the wise house patriarch, who springs a surprise as the time for her to wed approaches.

Graceful Aussie illustrator Sophie Blackall captures the culture--contrasted by Ruby's bright red defiance--expertly, with elegant calligraphy, muted period clothing, and countless nice details (from a porcelain bowl full of terrapins to ink smudges on Ruby's cousins' faces). And what's better, Bridges's well-structured story is true--with a fun surprise ending! -- Paul Hughes

Product Details

Recommended Age 4 - 8
Author Shirin Yim
Illustrator Sophie Blackall
ISBN 0811834905
Publication Date Sep 1, 2002
Publisher Chronicle Books
Language English