By: Sue Waters
Illustrated by: Pat Deckert
Publisher: SUPA Publishing
Publication Date: 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 2011
Reluctant Ralph is a truly lovely story that children will absolutely get a kick out of reading; and parents will truly enjoy the laughter, fun, and valuable lessons that this book teaches. Not only is the story sweet and educational, but it is also based on two very real ospreys who arrive in North Carolina in the spring to hundreds of people who love to welcome them home. So, as readers get to know these beautiful creatures, they should keep in mind that this amazing ‘family’ DOES very much exist in the real world.
Our story begins with an osprey couple who have migrated from South America to North Carolina for the past six years. Their favorite place is a nest that sits right beside a very active seafood restaurant. There, looking out over the beautiful water, the ospreys - Ricky and Lucy - begin to make their nest and find themselves extremely happy to be enjoying yet another season in the beautiful North Carolina landscape.
Now, after they have rebuilt their home, Lucy lays her three beautifully-colored eggs and makes sure to sit for the right amount of time and wait for them to hatch. Soon, into the world two ospreys arrive. The third, doesn’t arrive until a few days later. This is Ralph. Ralph is a baby osprey who simply likes to sit in the sunshine and enjoy himself. His siblings learn how to fly and learn how to catch fish, but Reluctant Ralph likes the fact that he can sit and get waited on. He’s not a lazy osprey, just reluctant to face the challenges of the world.
Unfortunately, when a storm comes in and threatens the family’s beautiful home, Reluctant Ralph has to find a way to not only survive, but learn how to fly, and become the osprey that his parents know he can become.
This is truly a charming story written by an elementary school librarian. And, like the military, many people believe that librarians should be heralded in this day and age of computers and disappearing books. (This reviewer is one of them!) It is an absolute pleasure to see such an amazingly lovely, fun story that teaches kids a great lesson. And the illustrations, done by a special education art teacher, are truly phenomenal. Readers will definitely want Reluctant Ralph on their bookshelves!
Quill Says: A fantastic read with adventure, love, family, friendship, laughter, and strength. A really wonderful book that will teach kids courage and a way to ‘spread their wings and fly!’