by Philip C. Stead
36 pages; ages 3-6
Roaring Brook Press, 2013
"Ruby introduced herself. "Hello, my name is Ruby. "Hello," said the bird standing in the cool water."
So begins Ruby's search for a friend. She is invited to go flying and to walk alongside her new friends. She discovers friends in unlikely places and learns their names. She even learns - from one bird who everyone insists is a peacock but looks like a turkey to me - that not everyone wants to be a friend. And through the pages, Philip Stead's soft pastels carry us on this gentle journey.
What I like: That Ruby actively seeks new friends - and that she is adventurous enough to explore even unlikely places to find friends. She doesn't judge a friend by their feathers. And even when she is given the cold shoulder, she eventually shakes it off and heads off to look for new friends. The cute bird characters make up for the lack of conflict and tension.
Beyond the Book: The title immediately made me think of those stick-on name badges that you get at SCBWI conferences and the like. You know, the ones that say "Hello, My Name Is". So why not make your own name badge?
Draw a friend for Ruby. Use pastel chalk and colored pencils (the media Philip uses in his illustrations) to draw a bird friend for Ruby. Use a bird field guide or bird photos to inspire your art... but feel free to exaggerate one of the features - make a long bill really stand out, or a crest or decorative feathers... check out how Philip draws his birds in this video.
Make a bird mask and become a friend for Ruby. Start with a paper plate. Then use construction paper to make your beak. Add feathers, paper curls, glitter....
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher.