Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin
|Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Magda Healey|
|Summary: A realistic (even if played by animals) story of lies and guilt in a life of a 6 year old, it is, nevertheless a decent story, most likely better borrowed, as The BookBag can't imagine many children wanting to re-read it many times.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 32||Date: February 2008|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
Ruthie loves all the littlest, tiniest things, and when she found a tiny-weeny toy camera in the playground she just has to have it! Martin claims it's his, but so does Ruthie and the teacher takes the toy away and leaves the issue to be sorted tomorrow. By the end of the day Ruthie is a nervous wreck, guilt and worry overwhelming her, and eventually owns up to parents which puts her back on track to the full moral recovery.
As you can see, it's a simple moral story with which many children would be able to empathise. Telling lies, once we learn how to do it at some time between 2 and 3 years old, is a very tempting way to get what we want, but the social and, once the no-lying rule is internalised, emotional consequences of telling lies can be pretty nasty.
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie shows how easy it is to lie in the heat of the moment, and shows how unpleasant it is to feel guilty and worried about the consequences afterwards. It all ends well though, and the overall message is positive and – of course – teaches that it's better to own up than suffer the guilt.
There is, also, of course the issue of “stealing”, which is probably more complicated for little children then telling fibs, as it's sometimes hard to work out which things one is allowed to take, and which one is not.
The illustrations are gentle, realistic and support the text well. What I personally greatly dislike is the fact that, without any reason I can think of, the characters in the book are animals. I don't think there is anything gained by making Ruthie a fox. It's a realistic story with no fantasy elements, not a parable or an allegory. All the situations in it could have happened to a common-or-garden variety modern child without the need to adorn the child with a long tail and a pointy muzzle.
There is quite a lot of text, and considering the length and the subject matter, this is probably most suitable for older preschoolers and the youngest primary school children. My 6 year old read it herself and the plot kept her attention and she pronounced it a “good story”, although she didn't claim the book for herself nor want to read it again.
I personally prefer moral lessons coming from somehow more lofty and exciting tales, but it's not a bad book and could be a useful one if you want to provide some moral guidance. Better borrowed, as I can't imagine many children wanting to re-read it many times, it is, nevertheless a decent story, though unnecessarily cloaked in skins of the animal fable.
Thanks to the publisher for sending the BookBag this volume.
For another book which looks at telling fibs take a look at The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin at Amazon.com.
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