“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ruby's School Walk • Picture book

Ruby's School Walk
by Kathryn White  • illustrated by Miriam Latimer
August 2010  • Barefoot Books  • Ages 4 - 7
Will Ruby find the courage to reach her classroom?
Story:  Ruby's morning walk with her mom is far from ordinary.  On their way, Ruby experiences a world her mother cannot see, and imaginative dangers in her path.  With a tiger on the prowl and mighty beasts that loom and lurk, getting to school seems an impossible task. Young readers will enjoy joining Ruby as she faces her fears and learns how to keep them in check.  "A cheery reminder of the fun to be had—and fears overcome—with a little imagination…" writes Publishers Weekly in a review of Ruby's School Walk.
Story behind the story: Kathryn White wrote the book Ruby's School Walk based on her own experiences starting school."Every child experiences some trepidation about starting a new chapter of their lives, and beginning school is no exception," says Kathryn White. "When you encourage children to use their imaginations to face their fears, they can overcome them and look forward to a new adventure, such as starting school." 

Publisher Barefoot Books has created a book discussion guide to help parents encourage their child's independence and send them off to school with confidence.  Kids will enjoy the downloadable Barefoot maze activity sheet, while you'll enjoy meeting author Kathryn White and illustrator Miriam Latimer as they give us a behind-the-scenes look at creating Ruby's School Walk in this video:

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.


Angela said...

I'm already planning many different ways I can use Ruby's School Walk in my classroom. The book is strong in the traits of ideas, word choice, and sentence fluency. I can imagine using this book as a model for students (I have second graders this year) to write their own versions of what they might imagine on the way to school. Their are many strong and interesting verbs that a teacher could use for explicit vocabulary instruction. I like that they are balanced with plenty of known words so as to not be overwhelming to the young reader or listener. Their are many sentence fluency lessons waiting to happen with this one as well. My three year old daughter has been chanting, "I must be brave, I must be strong" ever since I read her the book. The sentences ring out with a pleasant melody and there is a nice mix of long and short sentences. This would also be a good book for teaching readers how to make inferences, as you have to figure out that the things Ruby encounters on her walk to school are in her imagination. You also have to use some inference to figure out how Ruby is feeling about school in general. I love the message about using your imagination to overcome your fears and think that young children will easily relate to this book. Two more bonuses: the double page spread full bleed illustrations are captivating and the endpages could be used in a lesson on map skills. I love when one book could be used for so many teaching purposes. My rating is a 5 out of 5.

Anonymous said...

Angela's review is spot on! This book will be excellent to teach the difference between real and imaginary creatures as well as confronting one's fears. I can't wait for school to start to read this book for our pre-K and K walkers to get them talking about what really happens on their walk to school.

el said...

I'm a big fan of Barefoot books. So, I was delighted to find a copy of Ruby's School Walk(2010) by Kathryn White and Miriam Latimer in my mailbox this afternoon. This is a great book for back to school reading. It begs to be read aloud! The art is vibrant, the rhyme rolls off the tongue. A great addition for back to school collections! 4.5 out of 5

Carol said...

I think Angela shared a quality review on Ruby's School Walk. I agree with her smart ideas and areas of focus for literacy teaching. The first time I read the book, I also found myself seeing various ways to use this picture book as a model for students. The illustrations are vibrant and interesting. I like how the point of view changes. You see a demonstration of kid's eye view and a bird's eye view and even a worm's eye view on the pages with the forest. The double page spreads and full bleeds are engaging and the first end page, an opportunity for connections, predictions, and making inferences. I really appreciate the use of a large and balanced typeset too. I have to say that I have really become a big fan of Barefoot Books, and find their taste in books, exceptional. I think it will be exciting for children in the United States that the author and illustrator are from England.
My rating is a 5 out of 5.

M. Battista said...

What a fantastic imagination Ruby has! I was delighted on each page. I loved how Ruby's mother was just as creative and inspiring as Ruby. Many of our students enjoy the Little Critter books because they like to find the spider or grasshopper in each illustration. I know they will be just as eager to find the dragonfly in this book. The only part of this book that I did not like was the font. The lower case "b" was very distracting. All in all it's sure to be a crowd pleaser. I can't wait to share this with the kids.

Rating: 4

M. Battista
Denair Elementary School Library
Denair, CA

Julia Pitau said...

Ruby’s School Walk had so very many things I liked about it. The first things that caught my attention were the whimsical pictures. The next were the exuberant colors. I truly enjoyed Ruby’s imagination of all the “horrible” things she met up with on her walk to school, which she bravely fought off until the very end of the story. I believe this book would make a great read-aloud. And be sure to look for that little dragonfly that shows up on the pages.

Picnic Rating: 4.5

Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

booktoo said...

Ruby's Walk to School begins with inviting endpapers & continues with delightful rhyming. Ruby's overactive imagination is illustrated playfully & the creative vocabulary i.e.'loom and lurk, highlighted in bold,can be used in an interactive read-aloud. Empowered along the way,she successfully overcomes her obstacles. Ruby loses her anxieties about the new school year depicted by the image on the last page where the characters she encountered become her classmates.
It is the perfect start the school year book for preschool and K. The online parent guide is terrific.

Anonymous said...

This is a great way to get the students imagination started. This book would be a way to start story boards with the young students. I know that the young readers will enjoy starting their own story. I also can be used the first day of school to discuss the questions and fears the students may have about starting a new year. The pictures and the story were wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Ruby is a darling girl with an active imagination. The rhyming text is fun and shines when Ruby is "imagining". The illustrations are fun and colorful. I did like the mantra "I must be brave, I must be strong" but I'm not sure whether this would actually appease first day of school jitters.

Still, a fun character with a supportive parent and many adventures on the way to school.

3 of 5

Heather Hart
Children's Librarian
Newport Beach Public Library

Tina's Blog said...

Ruby's School Walk is a cute, rhyming picture book about a girl and her walk to school. Where Ruby sees lots of excitement on her walk to school with her mother, making the extraordinary out of everyday things. Her mother reassures her as Ruby meets all these "dangers," while Ruby chants "I must be brave. I must be strong."

Of course Ruby makes it to school and safety, only to continue using her imagination as she dreams of what her day may hold for her while there.

The illustrations in this book are so colorful that readers will be instantly drawn into this story. I loved the rhyming text - perfect for lower elementary students who are learning this concept, and also because it gives a rhythm to the story, making it fun to read aloud.

I can see teachers using this book as school begins to reassure their students about coming to school, and to spark a discussion on the ways people arrive at school each day, the different things that are seen on their walk to school, and the ways we can use our imagination.
Rating 4/5

Anonymous said...

I love this book! Ruby's School Walk shows children how to use their imagination to create stories of their own, introduces them to new vocabulary, and the illustrations capture their attention. I give this book 5 out of 5. A great addition to any library.

Carrie Blagg, Librarian Assistant
Paradise Valley, AZ

SunshineFamily said...

5/5 I love this book and would use it with my Kindergarten! I think we can have lots of fun acting out Ruby's walk and talking about what she is imagining. Then the children can map out there own walk to school with real and imaginary things. I would use this with Pre-K through 1st grade. I agree with much of what Angela wrote as far as vocabulary instruction- it really brings the words alive in a meaningful and engaging way for children.