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Rrralph by L. Ehlert

Ehlert, Lois. Rrralph. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2011. Print.

“Would you like to meet a talking dog?” According to the author’s note, this book was based on jokes that her brother told his grandchildren. The humour translates well into the story as the narrator uses a series of onomatopoeic word-play to explain how Ralph the dog “talks”.  For example, when asked where he is, Ralph answers that he is on the “Roof” of the dog house.

When asked what is on a tree, he replies “Bark, Bark, Bark”. The story even includes a somewhat scary encounter between Ralph and a “Wolf! Wolf!” This book will definitely be a story-time favourite for younger children. The large format and brightly coloured pages make it ideal for displaying to groups. The super-size font alternates on each page between black and white, creating high contrasts. The illustrations were created from: “zippers, wood, buttons, twine, metal, tree bark, screws, hand-painted and home-made papers, and textile fragments”. This creates layers of interesting textures and gives the book a “home-spun” appeal. It would also provide an interesting opportunity for educators or parents to talk about making art from found or recycled objects, or the benefits of recycling in general.  The highlight of the illustrations is Ralph’s multi-coloured textile collar and metal-heart shaped dog tag, which will remind readers of real beloved family pets. His zipper smile is pretty endearing as well. Other books by Lois Ehlert include: “Lots of Spots”, “Boo to You!” and “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”. According to the publisher Rrralph is recommended for ages 2-6.

Highly recommended: four out of four stars
Reviewer: Kim Frail

Kim is a Public Services Librarian at the H.T. Coutts Education Library at the University of Alberta. Children’s literature is a big part of her world at work and at home. She also enjoys gardening, renovating and keeping up with her two-year old.