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2 Burnside Children's- Chapter Books

Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything


Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything Cover

ISBN13: 9781416950035
ISBN10: 1416950036
Condition: Standard
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Chapter One: The Best Thing About Immigration

The best thing about having a cousin come from another country to live with you is everything.

Ruby liked the parties. When Flying Duck and her parents emigrated from China to Ruby's house, there was one celebration after another. Every day felt like a birthday.

Ruby liked the noise and excitement. Before she got up in the morning, she could hear grown-ups talking in the kitchen. The telephone rang all the time. The doorbell worked overtime. Everyone wanted to meet the newcomers.

Ruby liked being a tour guide. FlyingDuck and her parents had come from a small rural village. Everything in their new American city was strange and fascinating, especially the places on Ruby's tours. They loved to pose with many ordinary things that they thought were extraordinary. Like ferries. And seagulls. GungGung's car. A parking meter. A meter maid. A meter maid scribbling in her notebook. The convictorange parking ticket on GungGung's windshield! Ruby snapped a hundred pictures.

Ruby liked her uncle. He was an expert bike rider, just like Ruby. Once he carried a giant refrigerator on his bicycle. And he had the photo to prove it. Ruby liked her aunt. She was a mah-jongg master before she became an immigrant.

Ruby loved mah-jongg. It was like playing cards, only noisier. And it was very addictive.

"The best way to get to know someone is to live with them and play mah-jongg with them," she told Ruby in Cantonese. Every evening she'd put on a little Chinese music. And serve up a bowl of pumpkin seeds. Then they'd play mah-jongg.

Ruby liked the buddy system. Ruby was Flying Duck's Smile Buddy at school. Smile Buddies were responsible for helping a new student feel welcome. Smile Buddies were friendly and loyal and helpful. They were courteous, kind, and cheerful. They knew the times of lunch and recess and the locations of the bathrooms. They introduced you around. They made everything less scary. Ruby had waited her whole life to be a Smile Buddy.

SMILE BUDDY, said the big, bright yellow grin pin on Ruby's sweater. Ruby wore every day. She was now as important as a crossing guard. And she adjusted it often, just to make sure it was still there.

Show-and-tell improved quite a bit. For nine days straight, Ruby showed UtterPrincess, a hyperaction heroine from China that was a gift from Flying Duck. Ruby carried UtterPrincess with her wherever she went, and in her original box to keep her pristine forever.

"UtterPrincess!" Ruby would say, holding up her box so that everyone could see the doll through the plastic window. Ruby turned it this way and that, as if she were holding up a gem and showing off every facet.

"She swims and speed-reads and speaks five languages," Ruby liked to say. But most important of all, UtterPrincess looked like Ruby and Ruby looked like UtterPrincess.

Soccer improved quite a bit too. It was kiddie soccer, so there was no uniform. You could wear whatever you wanted. Usually everyone tried to look like a soccer player in shorts and a T-shirt. But not Flying Duck. She put on her pink socks, pink sneakers, pink shorts, pink shirt, pink belt, pink pinky ring, and a pink headband with very large pink flowers that jiggled when she ran. Boop, boop, boop. It was Flying Duck's favorite outfit, and she always felt better when she wore it.

Why didn't Ruby think of that? Inspired, Ruby pulled on her green frog-leg tights, green glow-in-the-dark-see-you-a-hundredmiles-away sweater with asparagus-stalk arms and matching asparagus tips on the head that also jiggled when she ran, but not too much. Woomp, woomp, woomp. Wow. Ruby once hated soccer. But now she loved it, loved it, loved it.

But the absolute best thing about immigration was Flying Duck herself.

Flying Duck was a source of endless fascination for Ruby and her friends on 20th Avenue South. In many ways she was more of a curiosity than even the110-year-old mummified man at the World Famous Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, the best souvenir store in the whole world right there on the waterfront, a mere fifteen-minute drive from Ruby's house. The mummy, next to the cabinet full of shrunken heads, had a bullet hole in his stomach still shiny with blood, but Flying Duck was an entire foreign country unto herself.

She ate one-thousand-year-old eggs for breakfast.

And one-hundred-year-old eggs for lunch.

She could read backward from right to left.

And hold her breath for forty-two seconds.

And play mah-jongg past bedtime without falling asleep.

But that was not all.

She could ward off evil spirits up to one hundred feet with her special jade pendant.

Even better than that, Flying Duck could do something nobody else on 20th Avenue South could do.

She could lip-read.

Lip-reading is a very useful skill. It comes in handy when you want to watch TV, but the TV is supposed to be turned off. And it comes in handy if you are outside looking in and your parents are inside talking about you.

Flying Duck could speak and lip-read Cantonese. And because she had gone to English school in China, she also knew a little English.

Flying Duck was lip-reading even before she went to the Taishan School for the Deaf, where she had learned another amazing thing: Chinese Sign Language.

Flying Duck had been deaf for nearly half her life. When she was four years old, she fell off the roof of her house where she had gone to "inspect" the tasty peanuts that her mother was drying in the sun.

"I burst my skull," Flying Duck said in Cantonese. Then she signed it, tapping her head and making a burst of fireworks with outspread fingers behind her ears. Ruby's neighborhood friends, Tiger, Christina, and Emma, did not understand Flying Duck. But Wally did. Wally was from Hong Kong, and he was fluent in Cantonese.

"She burst her eardrums," Wally translated.

But the best part of the story...and Ruby knew exactly how to tell it...was..."The whole village thought she was dead."

Everyone gasped. It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to anybody on 20th Avenue South.

Ruby and her friends were quick to learn their first Chinese Sign

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 12 comments:

algeer, September 16, 2008 (view all comments by algeer)
I read the book Ruby Lu Empress of Everything. The book was a story abou a young girl dealing with immigration, friendship, special needs, and everday issues of a second grade girl. Throught out the book she helped her cousin deal with life in an American School. Ruby neglected her studies and fell behind in class. I thought this book was a fun and interesting book to read to second graders. Children love to hear about stories from their age group and they learn to identify with the character and the situations explored int he text. I would use this book to teach children about the way people deal with different family dynamics.
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amymbr, September 16, 2008 (view all comments by amymbr)
What I liked best about “Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything” was how her thoughts and actions were as real as a 2nd grader could be. I could imagine Ruby Lu as a real girl walking around and getting into trouble. I liked how Ruby Lu was very adventurous. Her swimming experiences and her experiments on the playground slide really made me laugh. Her relationship between her and her family that emigrated from China was a good example of how difficult change can be even if it does involve your own family and customs, but Ruby’s love for her family helped her get through all of the change. I wanted to keep reading to see what Ruby Lu was going to do next. Ruby Lu remained me of my own daughter who just finished third grade, so I could relate to Ruby Lu’s relationship with her best friend and all of the ups and downs that happen throughout a relationship between two 2nd grade girls. To me Ruby Lu was a smart loving little girl who wanted to grow up, but yet still had lots of fun just being a kid.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
knkreger, September 15, 2008 (view all comments by knkreger)
Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything is full of adventures that are intriguing to all readers. Swimming fears, smile buddies, and even summer school are adventures that Ruby Lu and her Chinese-American immigrant cousin Flying Duck experience and sometimes they even find themselves in the principal's office. The Illustrations and structure of the chapters make reading fun and comprehension easy for young readers.
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Product Details

Look, Lenore
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Wilsdorf, Anne
Wilsdorf, Anne
Family - Siblings
Ethnic - Asian American
People & Places - United States - Asian American
Social Issues - Friendship
Social Issues - General
Readers - Chapter Books
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - General
People with disabilities
Children s-General
Edition Description:
Ruby Lu
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 1 up to 5
f-c cvr; bandamp;w interior illustration
7.68x4.19x.52 in. .29 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Chapter Books
Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Situations » General

Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything Used Trade Paper
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Product details 176 pages Aladdin Paperbacks - English 9781416950035 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Don't miss the latest adventures — and misadventures — of Ruby Lu! The second book in the series about this quirky, inventive northwestern girl will make you laugh at the way Ruby sees the world, squirm in discomfort when she makes the wrong choices, and cheer for her when it all, somehow, comes out right in the end. And you get to learn a little Chinese sign language on the side — what a deal!

"Staff Pick" by ,

Don't miss the latest adventures — and misadventures — of Ruby Lu! The second book in the series about this quirky, inventive northwestern girl will make you laugh at the way Ruby sees the world, squirm in discomfort when she makes the wrong choices, and cheer for her when it all, somehow, comes out right in the end. And you get to learn a little Chinese sign language on the side — what a deal!

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