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Posted & filed under Children's Book Reviews

Ruby Rose loves dancing. In fact, she can’t sit still – which is going to make her first day of school a real challenge. “Learning to sit still is a big part of school,” her mother says, but Ruby Rose knows that dancing is a big part of her. In Ruby Rose: Off to School She Goes by Florida-based author Rob Sanders and Toronto-based illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Ruby Rose dances her way through her first day of school, staying true to herself despite the chaos that ensues.

Sanders turns dance moves into verbs, giving kids a plentiful glossary of dance terminology: Ruby Rose arabesqued, balleted, and cancanned through the pages of this picture book. Debbie Ridpath Ohi, who wrote Where Are My Books? and has illustrated for Judy Blume, captures Ruby Rose’s exuberance in her digital illustrations, always showing her mid-pose. Even when Ruby Rose’s teacher insists that she stop dancing, Ohi makes it clear that it is always on her mind: she doodles a dancer during math and reads a dance book during reading. But Ruby Rose is quickly back at it, without regard to her surroundings. While kids will recognize how firmly Ruby Rose holds to her true self, the text does not address the original challenge she faces. Nevertheless, Ruby Rose, Off to School She Goes delivers a vibrant, fun character kids will love.

  • Ruby Rose: Off to School She Goes

    By Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Published by Harper Collins Canada
    • ISBN 13: 978-0-06-223569-5
Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.