I’ll start this review with a bit of a disclaimer. Ralphina, the Roly-poly by Claudia Chandler is the first real children’s book that I’ve reviewed, so it will probably take a bit of a different approach as intricate discussions of the plot line and character development won’t really come into play.
Also, I must disclose that this review, while not being written by her, was heavily influenced by the reactions of my 5-1/2 year old daughter, Amanda. She has helped out by giving me full access to her own critical reactions to the work.
So we’ll start with overall critical reaction: “I really liked it, Daddy.”
The Blurb from the Back
Ralphina, the roly-poly is sad because she gets lonely in her garden and wants a friend to play with. But she is so small that nobody seems to notice her. With her mommy’s encouragement, Ralphina digs up a clever solution to her loneliness and in the process learns that she has a lot to offer in friendship. (Did you notice the little play on words there? Get it…digs…garden? Ha!). Discover how friendship can make your world blossom in all the colors of the rainbow, and also learn stuff that I am willing to venture you don’t know about these adorable little garden dwellers.
A Colorful Story about Friendship
Ralphina, the Roly-Poly is a wonderfully illustrated story of creativity and friendship that also exposes children to some fun facts about roly-poly bugs (or what I use to call “Pill Bugs”). The colors used in the illustrations are vibrant and all over the rainbow (which is another subject that we get some fun facts about). The storyline was easily understood by my daughter, Amanda, and she commented that she liked how the main character made a friend, because “making friends is a way to be nice to people and a way to have fun.”
The aspect that my daughter liked the most was the colorful flowers throughout the story. When asked which was her favorite part, she wasted no time going to the picture of the roly-poly painting the flowers the color of the rainbow.
Ralphina, the Roly-Poly makes a great bed-time story as it’s just the right length, and leaves on a very happy note. I also like the fact that Ralphina herself comes up with the idea of how to make her friend. This emphasizes individual creativity and working towards a goal. Overall, a very good children’s book.
Who would like this book: Children who enjoy stories about friendship and bugs
Who would not like this book: While it’s not geared towards girls necessarily, the focus on flowers and rainbows struck me as being a bit more on the girl side of the spectrum, so boys might find it a bit girly
Note: This book was sent to me as a review copy. While I try not to let this alter my review, I feel that it is only fair, in the interest of full disclosure, to let you know. The author was also nice enough to sign the copy with a personal note to my daughter, which was fantastic.