My mom picked up this book at our public library. It came with an inscription from Grandma Ann, wishing Emily a “Happy 4th birthday!” I’m not sure I would choose this book for a birthday gift due to the difficult nature of the lesson Ruthie learns, but I was pleasantly surprised with the adorable fox Ruthie and her experience with lying and telling the truth.
Laura Rankin tells Ruthie’s story using charming language, like describing flowers as “no bigger than fairy wings,” which makes the tough topic of lying more relatable and fun for children to explore. Accompanying the text are delightful illustrations created with ink and watercolor that make the tale even more accessible to kids.
The illustrations convey a world of emotions through different perspectives. Sometimes the pictures are full-page drawings, like when Ruthie argues with her classmate Martin and their anger takes over the entire double page. Other times Rankin includes multiple illustrations per page, like when listing the activities of Ruthie’s day. My favorite drawing that stuck out most to me was of Ruthie when she approaches her teacher’s desk to tell her the truth. You can feel Ruthie’s nervousness solely from the perspective of the illustration.
Rankin’s story is great for the classroom or at home reading. She takes what could be an uncomfortable situation and turns it into a lovable book, using kindness and compassion to teach kids about honesty and courage.
– Julie Schwab