Tag Archives: Sally Lee

Children’s Books: RALPHINA THE ROLY POLY and THE TUTU BALLET

I recently received two kids' books for review, Ralphina The Roly-Poly, by Claudia Chandler, and The Tutu Ballet, by Sally Lee. Here's what I thought:

Raphina Ralphina the Roly-Poly is a bright, colorful book about Ralphina, a small roly-poly, which is a fourteen-legged insect that lives in damp, dark places. Ralphina lives near a house, and has her eye on the little boy who lives there, with hopes that he might become her friend. She tells her mother that the only way she can think of to catch his eye is to wait until he goes to pick some newly blossomed tulips for his mother, one of which she will curl up inside so that he will find her. Sure enough, that is what happens – the little boy finds her and they become friends. This book is short on plot, even for one aimed at little kids. That's the whole story! My four year-old daughters liked this book but were surprised when it ended, because I think they were expecting more to happen. The pictures are beautiful, though, and definitely captured their attention. The best part of the book is the "Did You Know?" section at the end about rainbows and roly-polys. The author, Claudia Chandler, is an author and illustrator as well as an avid gardener. Her love of gardening clearly shows through in this book. Julie at Booking Mama also reviewed Raphina the Roly-Poly (and loved it) – check out what she had to say.

TutuThe Tutu Ballet is the second book I have read and reviewed by Sally Lee. The first was The Rabbit and The Snowman, reviewed here. Like The Rabbit and The Snowman, The Tutu Ballet is illustrated with beautiful watercolor drawings. It is the story of a ballet class with four students – a bear, a mouse, a hare and a fox. The ballet teacher faces a quandary: each of her students is very good at one particular ballet move (a kick, a twirl, a jump or a plie), but not good at all at the others. With a ballet recital upcoming, she decides to choreograph a ballet where each student only has to perform the move that he or she excels at. And that's the story. Again, I thought this one was a little light on plot (especially compared to the very charming The Rabbit and the Snowman), and I wasn't sure I liked the message – that if you don't like doing what everyone is supposed to do, you can just do your own thing. This is supposed to be a group performance, and the book is teaching kids that they can just opt out of what they don't like or aren't good at. Of course, my ballet-obsessed four year-olds didn't quite grasp the overall theme of the book, but they did enjoy looking at the pictures of the dancing animals.

That's my kids' book report for early January 2009. Any new favorites on your kids' bookshelves?

Children’s Book: THE RABBIT AND THE SNOWMAN by Sally Lee

Lee I received a review copy this week of The Rabbit and the Snowman by Sally Lee. It’s a kid’s book, probably good for ages 3-6.


My four year-olds and I read it yesterday, and they gave it two thumbs up. It’s the story of a snowman who befriends a rabbit in the winter. By spring, the snowman has melted, and the rabbit, while distracted by the nice weather and the flowers and the birds, misses the snowman. When the cold weather returns, the snowman reappears and the friends are reunited.


This is a gentle story with lovely watercolor drawings and some unique visual perspectives. When I asked the girls what they liked about the book, they said, “I like the pretty snow.” “I like the colors.” and “I like how the snowman came back.” Both said they would like to read it again.


I’d be happy to read it to them again too. It’s not my favorite kid’s book of all time, probably because it’s missing that adult humor that makes some kid’s books so entertaining to read, but it’s certainly a sweet book with a nice message about enduring friendship.


You can read another review of “The Rabbit and the Snowman” at BookingMama.