Monday, July 15, 2019

Review - Ralph Tells a Story

Ralph Tells a Story
by Abby Hanlon
Date: 2012
Publisher: Two Lions
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book

Nothing ever happens to Ralph. So every day when it’s time to write stories, Ralph thinks really hard. He stares at his paper. He stares at the ceiling. But he has no stories! With the help of his classmates, Ralph realizes that a great story can be about something very little... and that maybe he really does have some stories to tell. Debut author/illustrator Abby Hanlon’s endearing text and charming watercolor and colored pencil illustrations prove that writing can be fun! This story works nicely with Lucy Calkins’ Writer’s Workshop model of teaching.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a story about a boy named Ralph who thinks he can't write a story. The problem is that he thinks it's harder than it really is. His classmates can all do it, but for whatever reason, he has no confidence in his abilities. It isn't until he's up in front of the class that he really gets what storytelling is all about: you simply explain what happened. And, wouldn't you know it? Ralph actually has a pretty good story to tell about his day in the park with an inchworm.

The pictures are, at first glance, pretty rough. But they actually work really well with the story. The titles of the kids' stories are amusing (not least because the spelling is pretty bad). One of my favourite parts is actually at the end, where we see a library of all of Ralph's stories. He's actually a pretty decent speller. "The Scariest Hamster" and "The Smelly Band-Aid" sound like bestsellers to me...

Also included at the back are Ralph's tips for writing. They're pretty much common sense, especially Tip #4 ("Eat lots of chocolate."). I like how this book encourages kids to write their own stories, showing them that it's really not so hard... and that it's okay to ask for help.

Overall, this is a good picture book for budding writers, or even just for kids who may think they don't have a story to tell. Ralph shows them that it's not as hard as they might think, and they can find a story if they just look for one.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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