Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ralph Tells a Story - a bookwrap


Writer's block

Unwrapping today's book and taking you inside....

Ralph Tells a Story authored and illustrated by:

Abby Hanlon

This wonderful, inspirational book by debut author/ illustrator, Abby Hanlon, is a must for every primary classroom.  When Ralph's teacher tells her class that stories are everywhere just waiting to be captured, all the kids in the class get on board and start to write...all the kids....except Ralph.  He tries, he really does try, to get inspired and is quite intimidated by his friend Daisy's thirteen page book which includes a lot of stories about him.  She proudly staples her masterpiece together leaving poor Ralph feeling quite overwhelmed. He starts looking outside the classroom into the hallways, wants to visit the lunchroom ladies, checks out the aquarium and everything around him for ideas, but finds nothing to trigger his story.  Finally despondent Ralph just crawls forlornly under his desk, ready to pack it all in, and label himself....hopeless.  As he is reflecting in his little hideaway he is reminded of going to the park and finding an inchworm.  That seems like an idea he can work with but alas he cannot create farther than that thought.  

When his overzealous teacher calls all the writers forward to share their stories Ralph sits on his paper and tries to disappear into the carpet.  You guessed it.... the teacher calls on Ralph to share first.  Ever so slowly he heads to the front, dreading to tell his story.  He begins by introducing the kids to the inchworm and then ........ nothing.  His friend Daisy perks up and starts asking him questions, "Was it squishy Ralph?", others asked, " Did your mom let you keep it?" "Did you give it a name?" and on and on and on. Ralph's imagination gets sparked by the questions and he tells a tale that impresses the whole group.  Everyone cheers him on and asks to see his picture and from that moment on Ralph morphs into a writer extraordinaire.

He puts pencil to paper and churns out story after story feeling confident enough about his skills to even give tips to others as to how to be a competent writer. 

The illustrations are done in watercolour and coloured pencil and are soft and friendly.  The poses and faces of the kids tell it all and work perfectly with the text to visualize the words.  The book is written for kids ages 6-8.

Abby Hanlon has a master's degree in childhood education from the City College of New York and a bachelor's from Barnard College. Abby has taught creative writing and first grade in the New York City public school system. Inspired by her students' storytelling and drawings, Abby began to write her own stories for children. Determined to illustrate her stories, Abby taught herself to draw after not having drawn since childhood. Ralph Tells a Story is her first book. Abby lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children. 

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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