You will Love Ralph and Rita, too!


Ralph is a roly-poly bug. Rita is a firefly. Their differences are why they like being friends. Then one day, those differences turn into annoyances. Rita says Ralph is bossy, and she doesn't like it when he curls into his hard shell and rolls away. Ralph thinks Rita's light is too bright, and she flies too fast. Now they are unhappy. They still want to be friends, so Ralph tries to soften his shell, and Rita tries to fly a little slower. Ralph and Rita are different, but they still love each other.

Parent Perspective:
This book is clever and fun to read. Ralph and Rita may be insects, but young readers will see them as though they are "real life" friends. The story has messages of compromise, accepting others, and being yourself - without beating you or your young reader over the head. It also clearly conveys the idea that there is a difference between a character trait (something you can't change) and a behavior (something you can).

My one nit with the story is the kiss at the end. This may be my adult self over-thinking it, but that isn't something common as a friendship gesture in this audience, and I'm not certain about "modeling" it for them. This would be more appropriate of siblings or parent/child showing love for each other.

The variety of interactive elements is excellent. Even though there is an activity on every spread, but it doesn't get in the way of the story. I have read this a bunch of times, just because, and imagine anyone who picks up the book will do the same. Parents - if you want the book to last, you want to do the holding. I'd recommend reading this someplace where it is easy to lift the book. You need to be eye-level with the book to fully enjoy some pop-up scenes.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Kids will be over the moon with the variety of interactive elements. Ralph and Rita are adorable insects that kids will befriend right away! The two have a relationship where kids can see themselves, and the story creates opportunity for great discussions about what makes a friend, as well as empathy. Be prepared to read this one over and over!

Content Awareness Factors:

None related to content. This is a pop-up book, and there are interactive elements on every spread. They are probably not sturdy enough to withstand toddler hands for very many readings.

Type of Book:
This is an interactive story with flaps, pulls, and pop-up scenes.
Educational Themes:

As the title suggests, this is a book about friendship. Plenty of opportunities for great conversations about friendships, being yourself, understanding what someone can/cannot change, and feelings.

Ralph and Rita's emotions are well illustrated, and they create great opportunities to ask your child how they would feel/react if they were Ralph or Rita. Before you turn the page from the two going in opposite directions, ask your reader what they would do - would they stop being someone's friend?

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
3 to 8
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy two. One for you, one for your child's best friend.

Title I Love You (Almost Always): A Pop-Up Book of Friendship
Author Anna Llenas
Publisher Sterling Children's Books, Imprint Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © 2020
Illustrators Anna Llenas
ISBN 9781454939504
Material Hard Cover
Cost $24.95
Genres Emotions and Feelings, Friendship, Life Lessons
Reminder: Cover images, and links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.

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