Roberta, a white girl with an explosion of curly orange hair, is the narrator of this story. We first meet her on the playground, crouching down to rescue a "tiny creature" while her racially diverse classmates explore and play around her. Against white and bold green backgrounds, Roberta helps beetles, caterpillars, and worms, despite the ridicule of her classmates and thinly-disguised disgust of her teacher. Despite setbacks, Roberta continues her mission, and when a cloud of baby spiders invade her classroom, she reaches out to her classmates with some surprising results.
It takes all of Roberta's courage to speak up when her classmates and teacher think spiders are scary, yucky, and gross, but in doing so she not only saves the spiders, she inspires respect and curiosity in her classmates and makes a new friend, Maria. Together, the two are prepared to not only rescue even bigger creatures, but to find new friends who are interested in the wonderful small creatures all around them.
There is a page of Roberta's rescued creatures, with adorable illustrations and interesting facts, and instructions to make Maria's origami box for rescuing tiny creatures.
Verdict: While a little wordy for the average storytime, this sweet and humorous story is just perfect for reading to kids before they absorb the phobias and prejudice of many adults about the tiny creatures that surround us. Highly recommended.ISBN: 9781250246714; Published June 2021 by Roaring Brook; Borrowed from another library in my consortium