Ready with her backpack of essential items and trusty vivid imagination, Ruby returns for another adventure (Ruby’s School Walk, 2010)—of the backyard-at-night variety—with thrilling and eventually cozy results.
Ruby’s rhyming narrative is full of infectious enthusiasm: “I’m sleeping with Mai in my tent tonight, / When the moon is full and the stars are bright.” Mai brings a teddy and a book, but Ruby brings her blue egg, colorful beans and two magical rings. Soon camping excitement turns to worry as rumbles and shadows and overactive imaginations produce fears of a fearsome giant, a fire-snorting dragon and pirates from “magical ships that sail from the moon.” Luckily Ruby creatively uses her trove to vanquish the scary threats, and both girls tuck in for a dreamy sleep. While White’s rhythmic text keeps the fantastical action flowing, Latimer uses acrylic paints and watercolor pencils to deftly portray every detail in the girls’ real and make-believe moments. The pinkish-red tent draws the eye on most pages, but readers will pore over the smaller additions that pop in the otherwise darkish palette: a prowling mosquito, a cat prancing on the fence, Ruby’s crocodile slippers, the howling foxes, a perched owl. The final page shows all the creatures and characters cuddled up together along the curves of a crescent moon.
As the weather turns and young readers yearn to be outside, share this well-designed tale for a most satisfying ending to a good night. (Picture book. 3-6)