Ruby the Copycat is an excellent beginning of the year book, and also a wonderful common-culture-creator for an introduction to other books (especially novels) related to the theme of Identity. As the students settle back into school-wide routines and learn their way as students this book focuses on being an individual not a follower.
Class newcomer Ruby admires Angela's bow. After skipping home to lunch, Ruby returns to class wearing a similar bow in her hair.
Another day Ruby admires Angela's handpainted T-shirt and sneakers. Coincidentally enough, Ruby returns after lunch with a hand-painted T-shirt and sneakers. "Don't touch," she warns, "I'm a little bit wet."
This continues until Angela, who had been flattered at first, grows tired of Ruby's replications, which are stealing the thunder from Angela.
Finally Miss Hart, the girls' teacher, asks Ruby to stay after school for a talk. In what seems like the final scene, Miss Hart encourages Ruby to be herself, to be the best Ruby she can be. Miss Hart smiles at Ruby. Ruby smiles at Miss Hart's long, painted fingernails.
When Ruby returns after the weekend with long, painted (fake) fingernails, and continues to copy what her classmates say, an exasperated Miss Hart asks, "And what else did you do this weekend?" Ruby responds, "I hopped." She then demonstrates her unique hopping skills for the class, and the teacher, seizing upon the moment, turns on some music and has everyone copy Rudy.
Thus dignified for her own unique gifts, Ruby hops home with Angela in a satisfying happy ending.
At home, discuss the following:
- What does the term "copycat" mean?
Please stop by the media center and check out Ruby the CopyCat!