Written and Illustrated by Anna Dewdney
Penguin Young Readers Group, 2010
Roly Poly, very small,
Doesn’t like new things at all.
Did You Know? Male Indian Pangolins can be up to 90% heavier than female pangolins.
Roly Poly is easily startled, so he hangs on tightly to his mother’s tail. He knows he’s supposed to eat bugs, but he’s not sure about them. When a little monkey wants to play with him, he runs quickly away. Hiding in the grass, he hears a sound and worries that it’s a monster. He runs away, but he trips and falls, curling into a ball and rolling down a hill. When he peeks out of his shell, he sees another pangolin looking back at him. Safe in the company of a new friend, he even welcomes the company of the curious little monkey and realizes that things are not so scary after all.
Author/illustrator Anna Dewdney is best known for the Llama Llama series of books and this one has a similar feel, with simple words, repetitive rhymes and a skittish main character that will be easily understood by timid children. Both the language and the theme of this book are ideally suited to preschoolers and very early readers, although I imagine any kids who love interesting animals will enjoy looking at pictures of a pangolin, since it’s such a rare and exotic species. Ms. Dewdney includes a note in the back of the book about pangolins, pointing out particularly that they are an endangered species and adding that a portion of the book’s sales are donated to a Pangolin Conservation Program in Vietnam. It’s a cute book but its audience is probably limited by the simplicity of the story.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that no matter how small you are, things always feel safer when you have someone else around.