A quiet picture book explores sibling squabbles and the powers of imagination and, ultimately, reconciliation.
Spunky Ruby finds three “swords”—long sticks in a clearing—and offers two of them to her older brothers, who have raced ahead of her. When they engage in play between themselves and leave Ruby out again, she “storm[s] off in a cloud of dust and disappointment.” With her sword, she spears apples (“a royal feast”) and helps a colony of ants traverse a puddle (“loyal subjects saved”). As a storm gathers overhead, Ruby raises her “trusty sword” while “wild winds [whip].” When a mighty gust blows a sheet off a clothesline, Ruby catches it with her stick and uses it to build a “magnificent castle”—with the help of her brothers, who return to her with peace offerings (twigs, rocks, dandelions). Zakimi’s beautifully illustrated double-page spreads capture Ruby’s bouncy bob, the anger in her eyes, and the windy, leaf-strewing storm. She adds delightful, whimsical grace notes in the form of two rabbits and a squirrel who engage in playful shenanigans on almost every page. Their anthropomorphic behaviors further enhance the theme of make-believe. Ruby and her brothers both have very light brown skin and straight, dark hair.
A charmer. (Picture book. 3-5)