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Ruby Jane has always looked up to her older sister, Velma Jean for her brave and daring stunts, but it is Ruby Jane's turn to be brave in the face of a tornado that threatens her sister's life.
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Kindergarten-Grade 3-A simple story told with the authenticity of oft-told family history is set in flat, Midwestern farm country (ostensibly Kansas) in an indeterminate time that appears to be the 1920s. Velma Jean is the boldest of all her brothers and sisters, unafraid of breaking colts, of meeting strangers, even of the fierce bull, Alfred. By comparison, her admiring sister Ruby Jane feels quite ordinary. "Somehow, bein' the best kitchen helper wasn't near as exciting as bein' the bravest." But Velma Jean harbors a secret, which is revealed when a tornado brews, and the family must seek shelter in the root cellar. Velma Jean is afraid to be cooped up underground, and it is Ruby Jane who has the courage to go after her sister and urge her to safety. The watercolor illustrations set the scene in a slack and windy style. The children are depicted as skinny and loose-limbed as rag dolls, playing around the horse tank in view of the windmill and sorting through Mama's buttons in the pickle crock. Told in a folksy vernacular that relies a bit too heavily on dropped affixes ('cause, nothin', starvin'), the plot seems as predictable as the iconic sunflowers and the wind. That said, however, the story is not without flavor and may be of particular interest for family-history units.
Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Like George Ella Lyon's One Lucky Girl , Darlene Beard's Twister (1999), and many of the other tornado and hurricane books recently published, this picture book connects the terror of the storm with a family story of courage and love. Ruby Jane remembers her childhood on a small farm, where times are hard (sometimes dinner is "a mite meager"), but she feels safe at home. She admires her big sister, Velma Jean, who seems scared of nothing. But then Ruby Jane discovers her sister's secret fear. When the big tornado comes, Velma Jean isn't afraid of the funnel cloud; she's afraid of being shut in the storm cellar with its dark corners. It's Ruby Jane who must help her older sister through her fear and coax her to take shelter. Sneed's watercolors, filled with light and motion, are less effective in the slightly skewed close-ups of the children's faces than in the wind-swept double-page spreads of farm and sky. Hazel Rochman
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Book Description Dial. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0803724098 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0375855
Book Description Dial, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0803724098
Book Description Dial, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0803724098