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Ralph Tells a Story Kindle Edition

124 customer reviews

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Age Level: 6 - 8
Grade Level: 1st - 3rd

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Look Inside Ralph Tells a Story

From Kirkus Reviews

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running.
(Picture book. 6-8) Kirkus, September 2012

Product Details


More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Blakiston on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very cute book, good humor, with colorful, inspired artwork to push any tyke towards creativity. For me a highlight was the juxtaposition of the front and back inner covers. The front shows a bunch of blank pages, indicating that Ralph had not yet found his creative streak, and the back is crowded full of all the stories Ralph learned that he had the capacity to write. Some examples are "When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me", and "When my Mom Bought me the Wrong Sized Underwear."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jason Kirkfield VINE VOICE on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
New from first-time author-illustrator Abby Hanlon. New, too, is Amazon Children's Publishing, itself borne out of the December 2011 acquisition of Marshall Cavendish Children's Books.

Sort of a juvenile version of How to Get Ideas, Ralph Tells a Story follows a Pigpen-esque Ralph in what I imagine to be second grade. His attempts to unlock a serious case of writer's block are spot-on, and should allow young readers to empathize immediately. Wonderfully emotive illustrations, especially Ralph's near-endless trove of grimaces.

My main and really only gripe is that while the text is legible enough (Palatino?), I would have preferred hand lettering, which may have connected more organically to the story. At the very least, a sans-serif font would have been better.

Positive, funny, practical. Bonus style points for the ruled paper covers and the Before & After endpapers.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In a field dominated with books about making friends in school, missing mom, and being bullied, Ralph Tells a Story is the first title I've seen about facing the horrors of academia. And these are very real. All across the nation wonderful teachers like Ralph's are encouraging their students to write wonderful stories.

And plenty of kids are coming up short. Kids like...my grandson Max, who regards the de rigeur three page story he must write each Sunday night as nothing short of The Great American Novel. Author Abby Hanlon deals with young Ralph's writer's block realistically and humorously, striking a nice balance between making fun of poor Ralph and entering into his feelings.

When he has his epiphany in the end and is able to tell a story, we are with him. We have been there ourselves. Ralph Tells a Story is wonderfully empathetic in tackling a basic problem kids face, succeeding in school. And the artwork is hilarious.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Allison Jaffin on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I just read Ralph tells a story with my twin 5 year olds and they LOVE it. Not only are the drawings fantastic, the story is engaging and had my kids responding to every page. Both girls want to write books of their own now. They gave it a rating of double 10.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R.M. Putnam VINE VOICE on October 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a writer and a retired teacher I found this story simply wonderful. What a clever way to motivate children to use their imagination and to see wonder in everything all around them. The illustrations and child like font would make any child feel connected to Ralph's situation. It went as far as to give Writing tips at the end of the book. It even inspired me to take a closer look at every detail around me within my home and outside. There certainly is a story to tell as little Ralph found out. Great Book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Buehl VINE VOICE on October 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My 6 and (almost) 4yr old daughters love this book, we ALL really enjoy it. It's impossible not to smile while reading it. :)
The entire book has an upbeat and positive air to it. I really appreciate that given some books targeted to this age group feature obnoxious or undesirable behaviors/attitudes.
Best of all, there's a positive and inspiring message behind it. It'll encourage young ones to find stories in their everyday experiences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A on November 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The previously (see update below) negative review was only regarding the electronic form of the book. In paper form I think this is a good story with a valuable message for children learning to write but the need to add electronic gimmicks had ruined this book. The text in the electronic book is made too small to read even though there is enough room to have had larger text, or even better, allow zoom to function in the book. Instead to read the text you had to tap on the text to enlarge it, which would have been an annoying interruption of the reading flow if it worked right, unfortunately it didn't. It amazes me how little vetting and editing is done with some of these electronic books. In this case sometimes one tap works and sometimes you have to tap a dozen times (not an exaggeration, try it) to get the text to enlarge to read it. This would be bad enough but a lot of the text is close enough to the edge of the book page that tapping just causes the page to turn rather than enlarging the text. Even if the text is not toward the edge of the page, taps often just causes the tablet controls to appear. My little one just got frustrated and lost interest in the story.

If you want a well executed electronic book for children try the iPad App Lil' Critter "Me and My Dad" it is the best of the many dozens of children's electronic picture books we have tried. Even after many months we are still discovering new "Easter Eggs" in that book.

UPDATE (I had previously given the electronic book 2 stars): I was contacted by Amazon and they let me know they had an update of the book and asked if it resolved the issue I had with the electronic form of the book. After trying the update, it did!
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