4.5 2
by Monica Carretero

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The Roly Polies are a family of not particularly attractive bugs that live under a variety theater. All members of the family wear striped or brightly printed clothing and they each have a special talent. They are all great stars of the stage—dancers, actors, singers, and magicians. One day a talent scout flea comes to town looking for new stars.


The Roly Polies are a family of not particularly attractive bugs that live under a variety theater. All members of the family wear striped or brightly printed clothing and they each have a special talent. They are all great stars of the stage—dancers, actors, singers, and magicians. One day a talent scout flea comes to town looking for new stars. Demonstrating that life must be approached with creativity, this story illustrates the importance of not judging by appearances.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Carretero breaks many of the rules of picture book construction: her narrative wanders, her plot is all prologue, and her characters are insects whose primary distinction is the ability to roll themselves up into little balls. Also, "they're chubby, which is another way of saying short and fat. And they're a very dull gray." Despite these shortcomings, an engaging voice ("Sunbathing... warms up their little accordion-shaped bodies") and cute-as-a-bug artwork carry readers through encyclopedic background about the roly- polies' dwelling place underneath the Grand Variety Theater and their entry into the world of performance; a flea impresario offers them the chance to put together a traveling show ("Although she was most comfortable working with insects, she had discovered some truly amazing mammal acts"). There, disappointingly, the book ends, just as the action promises to heat up. The book is a little like a variety show itself, with short appearances by many different roly-poly family members (dramatic singers Castor and Eurydice, the great magician "Butterbean"), and a wealth of costumes and props. Offbeat but charming entertainment. Ages 5–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"Rolie-Polies is a truly fun story that teaches that seemingly plain 'people' can be chock-full of creativity and talent. It's also a must-read for young fans of the little creatures." —Kids' Home Library (April 13, 2011)

"From the moment youngsters pick up this fun read, they will be captivated by it and by the colorful and detailed illustrations. A great selection for storytime." —School Library Journal (November 1, 2011)

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
This English translation of the Spanish artist and storyteller Monica Carretero fully meets the publisher's mission to issue stories "that enlighten our lives to bring out the inner child." Told tongue-in-cheek, the story follows the career of a family of fifty-five or so roly-polies. They all are chubby and grey—a color that is not really a color—and sport a pair of stumpy little legs. In other words, they are just like real pill bugs—including their ability to roll up in the same way an armadillo does. And yet, in this story, these pedestrian little creatures live in the basement of the Grand Variety theater cabaret. Inspired by the cabaret artists and a grandfather's vision, they become world stars. Carretero's illustrations bring these putatively dull little creatures to life—perfectly delicious nonsense. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
Kirkus Reviews
A multitalented family of googly-eyed bugs lives underneath the Grand Variety Theatre. They're called roly-polies; or, more properly, the Poly family. They're only an inch tall, with big eyes, a snout, feelers and 16 legs. (The twoeach stands on wear shoes.) Carretero's breakdown of roly-poly anatomy resembles a lab chart. For ease of movement, they can roll up into a ball. Like their aboveground human counterparts, the roly-polies are savvy performers, each with unique, brightly colored ensembles. They include: Maggie the Mouth, acaptivating storyteller; Castor and Eurydice, dramatic superstars of the stage; lounge singer Ramon Bonbon, who sports a Salvador Dalí moustache; dancer Glamorous Gabrielle; magicians Izzy and Whizzy; and many more. One day, a visitor changes their lives forever. A flamboyant flea named Hopping Henrietta arrives on a messenger pigeon all the way from Moscow and exhorts the roly-polies to see the world as travelling performers. Henrietta is an artists' agent, you see. At last, the Poly family is able to fulfill great-great Grandpa's dream to have their own troupe! Carretero's imagination is loopy and delicious; her cheeky, multi-colored illustrations have a dash of Gahan Wilson. As the bulk of the book is set up and description of the different bugs, it's awfully light on actual story. An excess of whimsy doesn't make up for absence of plot. (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

Cuento de Luz
Publication date:
Mini-animalist Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.40(d)
AD1030L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Monica Carretero is an author and an award-winning illustrator. She has published numerous books, including "El gato con botas "and" Candela, Mision Zeta."

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Roly-Polies 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
((First off a few things before I get started. 1, I am sorry for how short the last one was. I think the lag was getting to me. 2, I am so sorry that this one is late.)) The world on the other side of the glass raced past, mush like my thoughts. I had to make some mistake, somewhere so that guy would know all about my little quest, right? It didnt make any sense! How could some kid in Colorado know that I, half way across the contry, was after what he stole? Who was this kid anyhow? I guess thats what hurt the most, that I didnt know any answers only the questions. I watched out the window searching for answers within me while Andrea, Hunter, and Sally talked. But soon their voices began to fade as I, exhausted from the effort of thinking all day, slipped into the realm of sleep. <p> The cold foggy air hit me like a blast. I was in the same place as my last dream, somewhere on the side of a mountain in Colorado. The cave from last time was to my left and a clif I hadnt seen befor lay to my right. Then my breath caught in my throught. Sitting, legs dangeling off the edge, was the boy from last time. "Come. Sit." He said without looking at me. My legs began to move. Even though it was a dream I began to freak. Did this boy have control of my actions as well as my dreams? Was I doing what he wanted and leading everyone towards their deaths? I was sitting next to him now and it seemed the fog was centering around him. "Annabelle, I have called you here to give you a piece of information you are lacking." He paused, giveing me the chance to wonder why he was helping me. "You are looking for one thing to fix that in which is in need of repair when you should be looking for two." The boy stoped speaking and looked at me, a small grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. Then the dream faded and I was left with the lasting memory of that grin. (Next one in resault three.)
ChristianHu More than 1 year ago
Great book for kids 4+