Home > fiction, non-fiction, picture book > Ralphina, the Roly-Poly: Claudia Chandler

Ralphina, the Roly-Poly: Claudia Chandler

April 2, 2009

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.

I do not want to be sent picture books. I make it clear that I don’t review them, so by sending me Ralphina, the Roly-Poly to review the author already has a strike against her. Nevertheless, here it is in my hands, so I will offer my opinion.

While the press release which accompanied this book states that it was “written to appeal to preschoolers and early readers”, I have not yet found a child in that age-group which finds it attractive, despite taking the book to an infant school and showing it around.

Nothing in this book is quite good enough: there are a few errors in punctuation on the back cover copy and inside this book; the illustrations are fuzzy, and often unattractive; and Ralphina is a particularly unappealing heroine.

The story is predictable and unengaging, and the list of roly-poly-related facts at the end of the book was impossible for either of my sons to read: my eight-year-old, who is dyslexic, was defeated by the fancy fonts which were used while my 13-year-old, who is colour-blind, found that the multicoloured background overwhelmed the words that were printed on it. And it retails at a stonking $24.95, far more than mainstream books of this type: who is going to pay so much for a book of such inferior content?

This is another self-published book to be avoided, I’m afraid.

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  1. April 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Er, what IS a roly-poly? I thought it was going to be a politically incorrect book about an obese woman who sets up a dancing troupe.Amber

  2. April 9, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Amber, you’re BAD. An American roly-poly is a little insect which rolls up into a ball when it’s disturbed. Judging by the illustrations in the book they’re a bit scary-looking.In Britain, they’re something completely different. My husband used to live near the lead Roly Poly. He is still traumatised by it!

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