Ruby is starting third grade, and she can't wait! In third grade you get to join clubs, like for knitting and ballroom dancing and yoga. In third grade you get to sign up for a musical instrument (Ruby is convinced that she is destined to play the harp) and play in the orchestra. In third grade you also get to learn cursive...and that's only the beginning! But for Ruby Lu, third grade also means an especially big change: her father loses his job. When her mother goes to work to support the family, Ruby and Oscar have to adjust to her father's bizarre caretaking, which is definitely not all fun and games. And then there's the fact that money is tighter than ever. Ruby is determined to change things, though. (goodreads summary)
Ruby is looking forward to many new and exciting things in third grade. The best thing she was looking forward to was taking her new dog Elvis to obedience school so he can learn normal dog tricks. Elvis does unusual stuff like balancing plates and balls on his head or doing yoga poses. The last thing she was expecting was the loss of her dad's job and cutting back on expenses including the dog training classes. Life is not the same around the house when her mom finds a job leaving her dad to stay home and fill in for the time being. But with a little creativity and help with her friends, Ruby thinks of ways she can contribute to the family's tight budget.
I have always enjoyed the Ruby Lu series for young readers and was delighted to come across another new book. This story realistically touches on the unexpected loss of employment and the effect it can take on families. Ruby devises some very funny plans to help with the tightened budget such as opening her own spa, the neighborhood kids photocopying money as payment for makeovers and starting doggy boot camp for Elvis so he can sign up to be an animal actor to help pay for his excessive eating habits. Ruby later finds a wallet with money in it and thinks her troubles are over. When her dad places an ad to track down the rightful owner, she learns a wonderful lesson about character and the spirit of giving to others in need. Towards the end of the story, she must also make a tough decision of her own when it comes to giving back herself. The story is heart warming and humorous in many places and focuses on family love, friendship and giving to others in a time of need. There are also many cute illustrations throughout and has a sweet ending for Ruby. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 7-10.
Title: Ruby Lu Star of the Show
Author: Lenore Look
Pub. Date: February 2011, Atheneum Books
Hardcover, 136 pgs.