In White and Latimer’s third story about Ruby, following Ruby’s School Walk (2010) and Ruby’s Sleepover (2012), baby brother Leon is arriving home, and Ruby is nervous. She doesn’t even want to meet this smelly, noisy thing that will steal her toys, does she?
“I hear a strange gurgle and hiccupy noise. / I don’t want to see him. I hate little boys!” Ruby conjures up ways to be rid of the new intruder, imagining turning him into a bat and blasting him into space with a rocket. Yet the moment Leon clutches her finger, the passion she poured into her fears switches to the opposite—grand make-believe stories with a new sidekick. White once again captures Ruby’s creative energy in rhythmic couplets, while Latimer’s double-page illustrations, done in acrylic paints and watercolor, reveal both the actual and imagined adventures. Although the premise is not original, readers will be captivated by this big-hearted girl and all the smaller details Latimer includes, such as a recurring firefly, Ruby’s stuffed cat, the childlike art displayed on Ruby’s walls and the stick figures on the endpapers. This book was thoughtfully made and ends with Ruby lovingly holding Leon in her arms, full of big-sister pride.
Even though shelves are crowded with new-sibling books, this one is a strong addition. It is the first in the series to be available in a Spanish edition, El hermanito de Ruby. (Picture book. 3-7)