If Grandmother can’t come for Chinese New Year, Ruby will bring Chinese New Year to her!
Ruby, a brown-haired, gray-eyed, freckled girl, decides to visit her grandmother, who is “unable to travel.” In keeping with their traditions, Ruby draws a beautiful picture of their celebrations as a gift for Grandmother, and she starts off on her trek. Along the way, she meets Cat and Rat, Ox, Tiger, and Rabbit, and many more who decide to join her. Ruby eventually gathers all of the animals in the Chinese zodiac, added cumulatively and in their correct order, who help her manage a mishap and, in the end, contribute toward the Chinese New Year feast with Grandmother. The relationship between Grandmother and granddaughter is sweet, but the obstacles between them don’t ring quite true—why can’t Grandmother visit? Why does Ruby jump into a pond instead of walking around it? Perhaps the most compelling piece of this story is the backmatter, the “Legend of the Chinese Zodiac,” indicating that Ruby’s journey is a retelling that can’t quite stand alone. Chou’s digitally painted art brings color to the story, but it also mirrors the text’s lack of depth and richness. The book’s inclusion of instructions for three related activities will please crafty readers and educators.
Another Chinese New Year book perhaps worth adding for its extras. (activity instructions) (Picture book. 4-8)