Mem Fox (text) and Jane Dyer (illustration), Roly Poly, Puffin Books, November 2019, 40pp., RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781481445566
For many siblings, adjusting to a newcomer in the family can be a challenge and it certainly proves to be so, for Roly Poly, the polar bear who did not ask for a little brother! He does his best to keep his life just as it was before his brother made an entrance into his family and ‘only child’ world, in which he enjoyed so many aspects of his life being “his alone”.
Enter Monty, the newbie polar bear sibling, who is a determined, energetic and playful little brother. But Roly Poly uses all his might to deny and avoid Monty’s keen enthusiasm to interact and engage with him. But what will Roly Poly do when his little brother finds himself in danger?
Mem Fox as always, does wonders with her words; and in this story, portrays family and the change in family dynamics with her well known, soothing style that will resonate with many readers. She ever so beautifully depicts the strength of family bond trumping any sibling rivalry.
Congrats to Dyer the illustrator, who amazingly brings the characters to life with her creative craft of needle felting. The look and feel of the book illustrations have a point of difference that would be apparent on any bookshelf. Also, well done to Jeanne Birdsall who beautifully captured the style and storytelling with her photography.
A wonderfully endearing story, and gorgeous gift for an older sibling; or about to be sibling!
Reviewed by Sonia Bestulic