Ehlert (Lots of Spots) goes for the punny bone in this picture book inspired by family jokes about dogs and the sounds they make. The titular pup is plenty talkative, and in text that reads much like a comedy routine, he delivers his punch lines right on cue. The book's design sets up the narrator's question to the dog on one spread and follows with his answer on the next, additionally providing readers with a silly guessing game. At the outset, the narrator insists his dog can talk. "I found out when we first brought him home and I asked: What's your name?" The answer? "rrralph ralph." Later, Ralph explains "what's on that tree" ("bark bark bark") and how the ground feels under his paws ("rough rough"). Ehlert's always crisp collages feature textured paper torn or cut (pinking shear edges suggest Ralph's fur and a wolf's teeth), along with found objects (screws, tree bark, bottle caps) against a rainbow of solid-colored background pages. Ralph's zipper teeth and soda-can pull-tab nose give him a playful, slightly rakish look that's not soon forgotten. Ages 2–6. (May)
* "With its appealing jacket art, clever text, and vibrant illustrations, this amusing picture book is a pleasure to read aloud, either individually or in story hour settings."Booklist, starred review
* "Bold and bright, filled with kid-pleasing riddles and collage illustrations, this is a perfect offering for new readers and storytime. Will these young readers want to create a sequel? Yip! Yip! Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Ever-innovative Ehlert attributes several different words to the family dog...Whether Ralph actually means what he says or not, it’s giggle-worthy; and doubling the fun are Ehlert’s brilliantly composed collages."The Horn Book, starred review
"What do you do with "groaners," really bad jokes, in this case about dogs? Ehlert has gathered a few and turned them into a colorful, clever picture book.... An excellent selection for sharing one-on-one or reading aloud in a group setting."
School Library Journal, May 2011
PreS-Gr 2—What do you do with "groaners," really bad jokes, in this case about dogs? Ehlert has gathered a few and turned them into a colorful, clever picture book. The pup in this story has been talking ever since he was first brought home. When asked his name, he replies "RRRalph, Ralph." When he is taken for a walk, he announces that the path is "Rough, Rough." And, does he want to come in the house at night? "Yep, Yep, Yep!" The illustrations are done in Ehlert's signature collage style. She has used recycled materials including buttons for eyes and a soda can pop-top for Ralph's nose. Other materials include zippers, tree bark, fabric, corrugated paper, and more. The art is laid out on bright backgrounds of red, orange, blue, and green. An excellent selection for sharing one-on-one or reading aloud in a group setting.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
What would it be like to have a talking dog?Well, believe it or not, Ralph, the button-eyed, white-and-black puppy, actually can talk. When he arrives at his new home, the narrator asks, "What's your name?" Ralph responds with an energetic "RRRALPH RALPH." Readers might not get the joke at first, but when Ralph disappears, the unseen narrator asks, "Hey, Ralph! Where are you?" This brings the response, "ROOF ROOF." Though the trick quickly reveals itself, the questions to canine continue, allowing the young readers and listeners a chance to riddle through the answers. The query, "Ralph, what's on that tree," allows children to think, "Leaves? A bird? Branches? Bark? BARK!" Yes, bark. Ehlert's collages invite close inspection. Ralph is made of textured paper for his body, buttons for eyes, a soda-can-tab nose and a zipper for teeth. The oversized font on super-saturated shiny paper makes this an especially good book for shared reading. Even from the back of the room, children will be able to read along. The color-coded font allows for easy readers theater, too. Bold and bright, filled with kid-pleasing riddles and collage illustrations, this is a perfect offering for new readers and storytime. Will these young readers want to create a sequel? Yip! Yip!(Picture book. 4-8)