Ruby in Her Own Time
Scholastic, February, 2004.
Picture Book, 32 pages.
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Once upon a time, there lived a happy mother and father duck who anxiously watched over their five eggs. Four of the eggs hatched right on time, the fifth was late. But the mother duck announced confidently that it would hatch in its own time. When little Ruby finally broke out of her shell, she was really small and wouldn't eat at first. She didn't learn to swim or grow as fast as her bigger, stronger siblings. But the mother duck reassured father duck that Ruby would come around "in her own time." When the ducklings finally are ready to fly, Ruby flies the furthest and the fastest of all the ducklings. In fact, she flies right away. But we know that Ruby will return "in her own time." She does, and when she returns she has ducklings of her own.
Johnathan Emmett has written a children's story that, although lighthearted in tone, touches on an important issue. With today's infants being bombarded with Baby Mozart tapes and high expectations, some children are naturally going to fall short of such high parental expectations. But as Ruby's actions point out, sometimes kids march to the beat of a different drummer. Rebecca Harry's watercolors are soft and slightly out of focus, which gives a dreamlike quality to the pictures, and the text is simple and easy to understand. This charming story is sure to be a hit with both toddlers and anxious, overachieving parents alike.