Wednesday, December 14, 2011

4. The Gift of Happy

Razzle-Dazzle Ruby
By Masha D'yans
Scholastic, 2011
$17.99, ages 4-7, 20 pages.

A little girl wakes up with a gleam in her eye and a step as springy as her ringlets of hair, in this adorable novelty book.

Greeting card illustrator Dyans makes a joyful splash into books with this story of a girl embarking on a day of play in the snow.

All it takes is one look at the cover and readers know they're in for a lovely time. There, the girl, Ruby, greets them in red-and-white striped stockings with open arms, as if to say, "Come with me!"

As the story begins, Ruby has just woken up and raced to her bedroom window to see that it's snowing.

Reflecting the rainbow colors of her room, her mood is "razzle-dazzle" and in no time at all (by the next page), she's out in the sparkly snow with her scruffy dog Rocket, jumping through the snow to catch up.

As flower-like crystals of snow collect on tree branches, Ruby imagines she's in a fairy tale -- she's a "gleaming-beaming snow queen" and Rocket is her knight.

But she needs someone wicked to spice things up so she make "a cold-hearted villain" to run away from.

As readers pull a tab, a big ball of snow rolls across the page. By the next page, her villain is complete, a snow man with an icicle nose and menacing red berry eyes.

Before her villain can cast a spell on Ruby, she sends him "whirly-twirling." Readers lift the page and the snowman turns on a string in a dizzying pivot.

Just then, Ruby sees her friend Zac coming through the woods.

"Here comes a nobleman!" she rejoices, as readers pull a tab to allow Ruby to glide across a frozen pond toward him.

Soon Ruby and Zac are riding down a hill on a sled as a scarf twirls up off the page.

Next they're making snow angels that pivot with the pull of tabs.

What a day! As the sky turns purply, Ruby and her nobleman bid farewell and return to their castles.

But where is the snow queen's knight?

What a joy to read! And lucky for us, D'yans hints at bringing Ruby back for another adventure.

"Rest, up Rocket," Ruby tells her dog on the last page. "Tomorrow we sail the splish-splash sea with Pirate Zac."

Can't wait.

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