Red-haired, inquisitive Roberta is a budding entomologist. “I rescue tiny creatures,” she tells readers on the first spread. “It’s a special job.” While her classmates play during recess, she’s bent over a minuscule creature on the ground. She knows that such creatures sometimes need help, even imagining herself at one point in a superhero’s red cape. In reality, however, many of her classmates point and laugh at her: “Roberta has been picking up worms again!”
But one day, Roberta comes to the rescue. The entire class, plus the teacher, huddles in fear over some baby spiders crawling up the wall. Roberta directs everyone to follow her friend Maria’s instructions for folding origami boxes, then helps them guide the “hundreds of stripy specks” into the boxes so they can be carried to safety outside.
Curtis Manley’s bighearted story gracefully captures the experiences of quiet, observant, inquisitive children—those who may not be found in the midst of a big crowd at school but who are considerately looking out for those on the periphery. Lucy Ruth Cummins’ brightly colored illustrations depict a series of Roberta’s rescues both at home and at school. We read about her “easy” saves and the ones that seem “impossible.” We also read about rescue attempts in which Roberta didn’t make it in time. She keeps these creatures (a butterfly, a beetle and a bee) so that she can appreciate their beauty, even in death, with her microscope.
The book concludes with charming back matter: a guide to “Roberta’s favorite tiny creatures worth rescuing” and instructions for creating “Maria’s origami box with lockable lid.” Tender and sensitive, much like its protagonist, The Rescuer of Tiny Creatures will encourage readers to get outside and be on the lookout for vulnerable new friends.