What do you get when you put together the coolest kid in class, an
unpredictable live-in grandmother, and a caring but anxious grandson?
No. You get to know Ruben Plotnick.
David is worried about how zany Ruben Plotnick will react when he
meets Grandma Rosie, who often says and does unexpected things. Will
Ruben make fun of her to their classmates? Will he imitate her whispery
voice? What will he do if Grandma Rosie suddenly wants to dance?
This heartwarming story of senility and school-age embarrassment
reveals the importance of looking beneath the surface to really get to
Hardcover, 32 full color pages, ages 5 - 9
ISBN 9780972922555, Fall 2005
Praise for Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick
"An engaging story about family, friendship, and the challenges of dementia...Ruben Plotnick has grace and he has heart...the story is
charming and has a very sweet conclusion. This is an excellent choice for a group read-aloud or to help a child deal with fears of family
embarrassment." -Mary Hazelton, School Library Journal
"a truly delightful story... I would definitely recommend this book as a must have in school libraries." - Jean Boreen, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor and Department Chair, English Education, Northern Arizona University, in Children's Literature
"So touching and great for your kids… a terrific book. Really, a terrific book… I don't want to give away the punchline – On Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick was ranked 50 on the Barnes & Noble.com Top 100 Bestsellers
but you're going to love to read this one to your kids. They're going to ask you to read this one again and again and again
and again and again…. an adorable book. I definitely recommend everybody get this for their kids. This is just fabulous… I
loved it." -Dr. Laura Schlessinger, on the Dr. Laura Live Radio Show, Monday September 26, 2005
"All of us should get to know Roz Rosenbluth's "Getting To Know Ruben Plotnick" with illustrations by Maurie Manning.
This is a story about real family values, compassion for others and how kids are often smarter than we think. Hats off to
"Ruben Plotnick"! -Simms Taback, Caldecott Medalist, 2000
"Thank you for sending Ruben Plotnick. I enjoyed it very much. The voice of the narrator worked so well for me. ...The
illustrations of the characters fit comfortably with the words, particularly Grandma Rosie's wonderful dance poses.
Congratulations to Roz Rosenbluth, Maurie Manning, and Flashlight for making it all come together so well. I hope it is
enjoyed by many." -Julie Vivas, award-winning illustrator
"Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick, by Roz Rosenbluth, waltzed into my heart and touched it in a way that no other children's book has." -
Barbara Gruener, School Counselor, Friendswood, TX
From About.com Grandparents
Difficult Subject Handled Deftly: The questions raised by this children's book resonate with me, because I had a grandmother with
dementia. When her dementia became severe enough that she could no longer live alone, she moved in with my parents and my brother.
I was already married and out of the household, but I was around enough to know that cognitive decline doesn't always wear such a
pretty face as the one put on it in Ruben Plotnick. At the same time, I like many things about the book, and I think that it makes many
valid points. Yes, a person with cognitive decline can be a much-loved member of a family and can still make valuable contributions to a
household. Yes, young people do have the capacity to understand and accept the difficulties that come with age. Yes, even a child
whose charm consists of zany tricks can understand that a grandparent's failings are not fodder for jokes. But for most families in this
situation, social issues will not have such facile resolutions.
The next-to-the-last illustration in the book is telling. In it, the parents in the family make an appearance. The family is gathered around
the dinner table when Grandma Rosie says, "I want the little boy in the sink." David, knowing that she's talking about Ruben, smiles. The
parents' faces show the stress of living with a parent with dementia and foreshadow the tough decisions that are yet to come.
The Bottom Line: Like the best kids' books about grandparents, Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick lends itself to discussion. It's a good
book for introducing a chat about social dynamics. Why does everyone like Ruben Plotnick? Do you have someone in your class like
Ruben Plotnick? Are children sometimes liked for the wrong reasons? It is also an excellent means of beginning a dialogue about
cognitive decline. If your family is dealing with a grandparent with cognitive issues, it can be especially valuable, but most children will
need this talk sooner or later. Like talking to children about death, talking to children about dementia requires honesty, but one does not
have to provide all the answers. That's a good thing, because most of us are still searching for answers. If that's true of you, don't
overlook The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain and Beyond Alzheimer's. You won't find definitive answers, but you'll be better
equipped to deal with your own Grandma Rosie and to face your own aging issues.
"Roz Rosenbluth has written a story that is meaningful on many levels. The issue of increasing senility in an aging grandparent, and its
effect on family members, is made comprehensible even to young children. Grandma Rosie is not a one-dimensional character defined
only by her condition, but an important and beloved member of the family. Readers will be encouraged to look at classmates–popular
and not-so-popular alike–as real people they might like to get to know. Maurie J. Manning’s bright, cheerful illustrations are a perfect
complement to the story. Little details (beginning on the verso of the title page) involving the family dog are priceless. This story, and the
messages it contains, are as pleasing as Grandma Rosie’s chocolate cookies." -Book and a Garden blog
Ruben Plotnick stars in a podcast! Listen to Andrea and Mark discuss this award-winning book
as they drink their morning coffee, in their thrice-weekly podcast, JustOneMoreBook.com
or click here to read a transcript of the podcast.
"The generation gap may be awkward at times, but Ruben Plotnick and Grandma Rosie demonstrate the special bond possible between
the young and the old. ..."Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick" shows that although relationships may change, love and understanding can
still bring rich rewards." - Paula Morrow, children's literature specialist, writing in the Bureau County Republican
"Grandma Rosie…is envisioned by Manning with digital pencil, watercolor, and chalk as brim-full of vitality. There is an elegance to her
hands and a youthful spirit to her gray pony tail. When she waltzes we can feel her joyous memories of her past." - Kenneth and Sylvia
Marantz, co-authors of eight books on the art of picture books, in Children's Literature
"This picture book does a wonderful job conveying children's emotions, and how to deal with the uncertainty of peers knowing what
family life at home might be with an elderly grandparent." - Rosa Roberts, in Children's Literature
"Every character expands beyond stereotype in a way that will help kids cope with their own concerns about being less than perfect."
"...helps explore the characters beyond the typical stereotypes in a way that will help them cope with their own concerns about being less
than perfect." - Together, the Generations United newsletter
"[an] endearing tale... The illustrations are enchanting... a marvelous tool for introducing youngsters to Alzheimer's disease." -Kim Hone-
McMahan, Akron Beacon Journal
"This sensitive and clever story deals with school-age embarrassment and what dementia looks like from a child’s perspective. It teaches
young children not to judge a book by its cover and has a few surprises at the end." - in Connections, the newsletter of the National
Institute of Aging, of the U.S. National Institute of Health
"Timely subject! Unforgettable character!" Betty Dravis, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer
"...a wonderful and heartwarming experience... funny, touching and insightful... has much of value to say about family and friendship." -Sy
Fliegel, President, the Center for Educational Innovation of the Public Education Assocation (CEI-PEA)
"A lovely story about family love and about the sometimes unexpected nature of friendship. The illustrations, full of joy and fun,
complement this heartwarming story perfectly." healthyBooks.com
"...a warm-hearted story about friendship, dealing with a senile relative, and learning not to jump to conclusions about someone before
you really get to know them." - Anna Dogole, Large Print Reviews.com
"...a lovely book about friendship and seeing people as they really are. Kids will think it's terrific fun - but I warn you, parents, you just
might get a little misty as you read. The best books do that to you." - Jan Fields, MyShelf.com
"Ruben Plotnick is a young man that I wouldn't mind getting to know." - Larissa McKay, Eclectic Homeschool Online
"...a compassionate story about dealing with senility in those we love, and of blossoming friendship." Outlook Magazine
"What a charming book about having your worst fears never come true." - Elizabeth Applebaum, AppleTree Editor, The Detroit
"...not only deals with friendship but with issues that require kindness and family values." - Sybil Kaplan, The National Jewish Post &
See all reviews...
AWARDS & HONORS
New York Library Association Book of the Season Winner, winter 2006
Alabama Emphasis on Reading list 2007-8
New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award list 2007-8
Georgia Children's Storybook Award list 2007-8
Arizona Grand Canyon Award list 2007-8
|Picture Books That Explore and Illuminate
Peek inside by clicking the cover