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*When Ruby Tried to Grow Candy* by Valorie Fisher
Also by Valorie Fisher:

The Fantastic 5 and 10 Cent Store: A Rebus Adventure

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing the Piano (But She Does Love Being in Recitals)

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little
When Ruby Tried to Grow Candy
by Valorie Fisher
Ages 4-8 40 pages Schwartz & Wade January 2008 Hardcover    

While Ruby has been busy playing in her yard, her neighbor Miss Wysterious has been busy watering teacups, trying to grow a sock, and picking buttons off the button tree. Although an old patched-up fence and a built-up fear have kept Ruby from venturing into Miss Wysterious’s yard, a misthrown ball gives Ruby a reason and the motivation to go over and explore. Surrounded by a dangling pencil tree, checkered vegetation and blooming toaster bushes, Ruby doesn’t retrieve her ball from Miss Wysterious’s yard but instead begins a unique gardening lesson. Her green-thumbed neighbor may be harboring her ball, but she’s going to show Ruby how to grow candy!

Miss Wysterious’s yard does have grass and flowers, but it’s also suitable for growing “favorite things.” Umbrellas, egg beaters and cards appear to sprout up nicely from the ground, and it makes a fine home for the odd frog and goose that happen to be wandering through. Wearing her frog-eyed rubber boots and a floppy gardening hat, Miss Wysterious wastes no time beginning Ruby’s gardening lesson - she has a lot of gardening knowledge to impart, including the proper time to pick egg beaters and the correct way to plant shoes, but not a lot of patience. Although Miss Wysterious does have a tendency to bark orders and dash off without a minute's notice, Ruby and Miss Wysterious work well together in the gardens. “Blazing Butterscotch,” exclaims Miss Wysterious when she sees what Ruby has grown in the jelly bean garden. After the two new friends have a taste of the fresh crop, Ruby goes home with an idea for her own backyard; as long as her idea doesn’t involve anything sock-related, everything should grow as planned.

Readers are never far from the garden in this book. The text, set against a white background, is framed by a border of entwining leaves and branches. Greens and browns dominate the illustrations, and splashes of color are added withflowers, birds and a bright yellow sun. Photographs mix with illustrations to create interesting scenes and characters in this book. This mixed-media technique not only ensures that there is a lot to look at and admire on each page, but it adds a depth and layered look to all the illustrated pages as well.

Valorie Fisher's photographs illustrate the book Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little, and she has also written the books How High Can a Dinosaur Count? and Ellsworth's Extraordinary Electric Ears: And Other Amazing Alphabet Anecdotes. Living in Connecticut with her family, Fisher has also had collections of her photographs exhibited in museums around the world.

Young readers will enjoy following along with this story as the impossible become a reality for one very lucky child!

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  Tanya Boudreau/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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