Ralph Ribbit's Wacky Week Off

Children - Grade 4th-6th
178 Pages
Reviewed on 05/24/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Isabelle Reding for Readers' Favorite

Ralph Ribbit's Wacky Week Off by Louise T. Constantinople starts out with Ralph, the main character, learning that his job will be on hold for a while. Because of this, Ralph Ribbit has the week off! Assuming he'll be able to relax for the week, he is taken aback when he realizes that will just not be the case. His wife, Ramona, becomes sick with the flu, and as a kind gesture Ralph steps in and takes over her duties while he has time off. Throughout the week, things are hectic and busy, as most families’ lives are. Ralph runs into a series of issues: his son Reggie ordering too many pizzas for dinner, being surprised with career night by his son, his kids bringing the wrong bags for lunch to school, burning the soup he was making for Ramona, accidentally covering the deck with black paint, and more! In addition, at the end of the week is his daughter Roxie’s birthday, which they are preparing for all the while. Overall, Ralph's week is filled with quite a few surprises, so much so it quite literally knocked him out!

I give this story five stars for many reasons, but first and foremost, for the impeccable grammar. It was exceptionally easy to read and I wasn't stopping to mentally fix anything grammatically, which is usually what happens! The second thing I loved was the great message it had for a kid’s book. I also really appreciated the illustrations; they were incredibly cute and I honestly wish there were more, even though I know it’s meant for older kids. That said, the way the writer writes paints a picture by itself; whenever a new character was introduced, she seemed to paint them like an expert. The final way I was impressed by the book was apparent to me very early in reading it — there is some pretty genius wordplay, which I thought really spiced up the overall story.

The only two complaints I have about this book are pretty minimal: I was expecting Ralph’s week off to be huge adventures at every turn, but for the most part the issues weren't exceptionally big. In addition, the family members forgive each other after five seconds of being mad, and it almost never works like that. However, I believe this fantastic book deserves a fantastic rating, five out of five stars. Well done, Ms. Constantinople, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Marta Tandori

Louise T. Constantinople has taken what would typically be a fun idea for a children’s story and ramped it up several notches to create Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off, a hilarious story chock full of humor for young readers delving into their first chapter books. Ralph Ribbit, along with his wife, Ramona, and two kids, Reggie and Roxie, lives in Muddyville and is the proud Head of Insect Analysis at Acme Bug Company – until an unexpected explosion destroys his lab and several others, which gives him an unexpected week off work. Initially upset at the down time, it doesn’t take long for Ramona to convince Ralph that an entire week to himself doing nothing more taxing than preparing for Roxie’s birthday party and catching up on his reading might be just what he needs. There’s only one problem, though. Despite Ralph’s best intentions to relax, unexpected events conspire against his best laid plans, like Ramona getting sick with the flu, forcing Ralph to take over the running of their household with some interesting results; his obnoxious neighbor’s new invention; and both his kids needing him at their school on the same day. With everyone relying on him, Ralph nevertheless rises to the challenges with all the aplomb befitting a frog of his caliber.

While Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off is clearly intended for young readers of chapter books, the book also contains some vividly wacky pictures that will be sure to delight younger children as the perfect bedtime story. Constantinople’s prose is light and humorous while the grammar is age appropriate; the perfect blend to keep younger readers engaged. What makes this book also enjoyable for adults are the references to a very grown up world – with an amphibian twist, of course! There’s Ramona’s salon called The Webbed Foot, a beauty salon specializing in “amphibian webbicures and skin polishing,” mail that is delivered by mail frogs, and who can resist amphibian delicacies like cricket casserole and mosquito omelettes! Add to the mix interesting names like the Ribbits’ hometown of Muddyville, local shops like Pete’s Pizza Pond and a teacher named Tilapia Troutman, and you’ve got yourself a rib-tickling adventure. No matter how you skin it, catch it, slice it or cook it, Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off is a “ribbitulously” entertaining read!

Lucinda Weeks

Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off by Louise T. Constantinople is a well written juvenile fiction chapter book. The story begins with Ralph, a frog, and scientist for Acme bug company who experiences a reoccurring nightmare. He wakes up and realizes that his nightmare had been sparked by memories of an explosion that had occurred at the chemical laboratory where he worked. The fire had destroyed his laboratory. Ralph Ribbit is forced to take a week off from work while his laboratory was being repaired. Ralph discusses with his wife and children how he will spend his week. He is looking forward to a relaxing and peaceful week off. However, his plans quickly unravel. His wife, Ramona, gets sick with the flu. Ralph finds himself caring for his sick wife and his children. He finds himself juggling his family obligations with extra activities, including career night at his children’s school and preparations for his child’s birthday party. His family and friends keep him busy throughout the week with one wacky adventure after another.

This is a delightful book, certain to be enjoyed by elementary and middle school age children and beyond. The author has done an excellent job of creating a story that is truly entertaining. While the unique characters are based on animals, they have many human characteristics that add to the fun and excitement of the story. I found this to be a truly enjoyable read filled with imagination. I found myself completely immersed in the story, as if I was in the story myself. This thrilling page turner is one that is hard to put down. I highly recommend reading Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off by Louse T. Constantinople.

Ryan Jordan

Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off by Louise T. Constantinople is a children’s story about Ralph and his busy week off from work. After a terrible accident destroys his lab and experiment, Ralph the scientist is forced to spend a week at home with his family and neighbors. This causes him to get stuck in a variety of interesting and humorous situations. His supposedly uneventful week off turns into a crazy problem-filled week dealing with Dewey his inventive neighbor, his gung-ho mother Miranda who is very set in her ways, and the illness of a family member. Because he has so much time to spare for all of these other people, he gets almost no time to himself.

This is actually the theme of the story, and since it’s a book for kids it sets the stage for a lesson incredibly well. The main character is very giving and always trying to help others. Ralph Ribbit’s Wacky Week Off turns the main character's outgoing and selfless personality into a virtue, one which is rewarded at the end. I really enjoyed the story; the pictures, though infrequent, were excellent in quality and highlighted important parts of the tale in a humorous manner. There are just enough images so that the story still has to stand on its own, but certain sections are made even more fun and interesting. All in all, Louise T. Constantinople’s frog-filled story of a scientist spending his week off is highly recommended for parents to enjoy with their children. Very entertaining. Well done!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Ralph Ribbit's Wacky Week Off by Louise T. Constantinople is a children’s story. Ralph Ribbit, a frog, is a scientist and he loves his job. But he is not very happy when the laboratory he works in at the Acme Bug Company is destroyed in an explosion and fire. He is even less happy when he is told it will take a week to repair and Ralph won’t be able to come to work. Ralph worries about what he is going to do all day at home but Ramona, his wife, comes to the rescue and tells him he should spend the week relaxing. So Ralph decides he is going to spend the week doing all the things he likes doing, but his friends and family have other ideas. Ralph's week off is not the peaceful quiet one he thought it was going to be as he gets involved in an action-filled week.

Ralph Ribbit's Wacky Week Off by Louise T. Constantinople is a funny book, one I enjoyed reading very much. It is an easy read and is full of action and hilarity as well as a few moral points, which I thought was a good idea. I think that children find some things easier to deal with in real life if they see the same thing happening in a book and can see how it is dealt with. I found the story to be a solid one, well written with a good plot, and the characters were very well developed. I understand this book is a sequel but I don’t think that I missed out on anything by not reading the first one – this one is written well enough to stand on its own. Overall, a good book, very enjoyable and once that I think kids of all ages will enjoy.