Home > Book Reviews, Mock Caldecott 2011 > Roly Poly Pangolin written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney

Roly Poly Pangolin written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney

Publication Date:
March 9, 2010

Reviewed For:
Ages 4-8

Journal Review / Summary
Very few children will know what a pangolin is, especially preschoolers, but this scaly baby animal evidently has many of the same fears as little kids. In large type and rhyming sentences, listeners are told how Roly Poly is scared of new things, like something that might bite, bugs for dinner, playing with strange animals, and monster sounds. So Roly Poly does what pangolins do: he rolls up into a ball. When he peeks out, he sees another ball peeking back! He has found a friend. “Roly Poly, very small, / feeling better, feeling tall. / So much to see, so much to do . . . / So much nicer when it’s two!” The scaly creatures are playfully but accurately illustrated, with the addition of expressive faces to reflect emotions. An author’s note explains that pangolins are an endangered species and makes a plea for readers to visit her Web site to learn how to help. Book proceeds will go to Cuc Phuong National Park, in Vietnam, where research is being conducted. – Booklist

Illustration Medium:
oil paints with some oil pastel, plus a bit of colored pencil.  The paintings are on canvas

Execution in the artistic technique employed:
I love Anna Dewdney’s art.

Appropriateness of style of illustration to story, theme, and concept:
Whimsical and expressive.

Delineation/interpretation of a plot through illustration:
Roly Poly peeking out of his ball to see a new friend? Priceless & adorable.

Delineation/interpretation of a theme or concept through illustration:
Great for discussing different social aspects – being shy, scared, worried to try new things – all emotions shown on Roly Poly Pangolin’s face. His expressions are excellent!

Delineation of characters through illustration:
I love Roly Poly pangolin.  He is so cute!

Delineation of setting through illustration:
Setting is very basic.

Delineation of mood through illustration:
Worried and scared Roly Poly pangolin is adorable.

Delineation of information through illustration:
Though the story doesn’t tell about pangolins, the information at the back of the book is wonderful for anyone who doesn’t know about the animal.

Concluding Caldecott Thoughts:
Initial no, but I’m leaning toward a maybe now.

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