Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann

From the author of Goodnight Gorilla, The Day the Babies Crawled Away, & Officer Buckle and Gloria, comes Ruby the Copycat (2006).

Even though this book is great for everyone, it is especially great for little girls, about 5-8, because they are usually the ones who try to emulate other girls, especially the popular ones. I liked it because it deals with real life situations.

I read it to my class because whenever I find a book like this I try to read it to as many people as possible. After I read it, we had a discussion on it. I asked them what they thought the book was about. (Captain Obvious says: Even though the title is Ruby the Copycat, not everyone picks up on that!)

That being said, some did pick up on it and told me that it was about a girl “copycatting” another girl. However, some were waaay off. That’s okay though. In any class, there will be some that are high and there will be some that are low. This is typical of any class, not just a class with special education students.

Now, on to the review. This book beautifully illustrates at least two things: (1) How not to copy someone else, or to be yourself and (2) consequently, how to find your own special talent.

The story begins on Monday, Ruby’s first day in Miss Hart’s class. She’s assigned to the empty desk behind Angela, who is tall with long blond hair in direct contrast to Ruby who is short with short, brunette hair.

From the very beginning Ruby copies Angela. Angela was a flower girl at her sister’s wedding. Well, as it turns out, so was Ruby. Angela has a red bow in her hair. Well, when Ruby returns from lunch, so does Ruby. Angela wears a sweater with daisies on it. After lunchtime, Ruby wears a sweater with yellow & white daisies pinned to it (see front cover). And so on…

At first, Angela is flattered. However, after a while, she becomes annoyed and demands that Ruby stop copying her.

When the bell rings, Miss Hart-the knowing and understanding teacher- sends everyone home for the weekend except Ruby. She asks her to stay after so they can talk. Miss Hart tells Ruby that she doesn’t need to copy everything that Angela does.

“You can be anything you want to be, but be Ruby first. I like Ruby,” she says.

On Monday morning, Miss Hart asks who wants to share. Angela does, and of course Ruby copies her. Miss Hart folds her arms and looks very serious.

“Ruby, dear,” Miss Hart gently says, “did you do anything else this weekend?”

When Ruby answers truthfully what she really did, it sets the stage for revealing her own special talent. Will Ruby stop being a copycat? Will she learn to love herself? If you’d like to know how it ends, I guess you’re just going to have to go to the bookstore or the library to read it for yourself.

Trust me, you will enjoy it!

If You’re Gonna’ Steal…

Although I definitely disagree with what he did, I’m sorta’ glad that he did it. I’m talking about one of my students who stole did not return my book, Joey Pigza, to me.  He loved the book because it is about a child with ADHD-his same affliction.

When I introduced the book to the class, he was so enthralled with the idea that someone wrote a book with a character in it just like him. I let him borrow it so that we could discuss it. Once I asked him to return it, he said the he’d already given it back to me.

I know that I’m forgetful, but I know that he didn’t return it because the previous day we talked about him returning the book to me. He said that he would bring it, but he didn’t. I probably would have thought that he lost it if he didn’t have a habit of stealing.

I was a little mad because I have to re-purchase the book. What I’m not mad about is that he liked to book enough to steal it. I wish that he would have just asked for it, but that’s not his style. When he wants something, he just takes it.

Oh well! This is going to sound crazy, but I guess if you’re going to steal something, a book is the best thing to steal.

The Book Club

The book club is going well. I have two more members than last year. One of the members, Zay, is a voracious reader. He’s 11 and he’s already read all of the Harry Potters + The Spiderwick Chronicles. The other member, Chloe, likes to read also.

I have taken out a couple of my books that he and the others will be interested in. Three of them have started chapter books already. For them I have:

  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Trumpet of the Swan
  • Stuart LIttle
  • Joey Pigza Swallows the Key
  • Jeremy Bloom’s Last Place Sports Poems

That’s all I have for now. We’re going to the library today, so they can check out more. In the LAPL system, they’re having a puppet show today from 3:00- 4:00 p.m. I was surprised that the boys wanted to go. I would have thought that they thought they were too big for that. So, we’ll be there with bells on. All 6 of us!

BTW, what’s stopping you from starting your own book club.

Think about it, then do it!