Ralphina the Roly-Poly, by Claudia Chandler, is exactly what the title suggests. Readers are introduced to Ralphina, one of the smallest members of the insect clan. She might be tiny, but she has much to teach the rest of us. The trick is figuring out how her lessons will be conveyed to everyone else.
Ralphina is unhappy because she doesn't have any friends. As little as she is, it's hard to get others to notice her. Who does she turn to for help? Her mom, of course, and that encouragement gives Ralphina an idea of how she can accomplish her biggest goal. While nothing will take place right away, patience pays off down the road.
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all is not considering size to be a hinderance. In the grand scheme of things, everyone has a contribution to make to the world. Ralphina understands this better than anyone. She only has to be concerned with making one friend, a perfectly manageable goal.
I won't spoil the surprise by saying whether she completes the task or not. Readers will just have to find out the answer for themselves.
Chandler uses her strengths in both writing and illustrating to appeal to those who are just beginning to consume the written word. With vivid colors across every page, the eye cannot help but be drawn to this book. It helps that the author is an artist herself.
Personally, I found Chandler's degree in elementary education to be a plus. The master's training lets me know this is someone who understands the minds of children and so can write a book for the ones who want to read more. As an extra added touch, fact sheets at the back of the book ensure a learning experience beyond simply looking at pictures.
For more information on Claudia Chandler, visit her website.