This story "works" on many levels. The bright palette of the book makes Ruby pop off the page. The illustrator does a good job of showing Ruby progress from quietly curious to defiant yet resigned. The restraint of the illustrator is as evident as the skill. The point of the story is of course powerful and poignant: most girls in Old China as well as many places in the modern world are trained to be only wives and mothers at the expense of opening the world to them through reading and writing. While her grandfather's benevolence shields her from that fate, the author still shows the subtle ways in which a young child would understand what her expected role was. However, she manages to do it without beating the point with an age-inappropriate hammer.
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