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Not So Rotten Ralph

Not So Rotten Ralph

by Jack Gantos, Nicole Rubel (Illustrator)

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Up to his usual rotten antics - spraying whipped cream all over the kitchen and jumping out of the mailbox - Rotten Ralph gets sent to Feline Finishing School.


Up to his usual rotten antics - spraying whipped cream all over the kitchen and jumping out of the mailbox - Rotten Ralph gets sent to Feline Finishing School.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Fans won't be disappointed by the outcome of Gantos' new Rotten Ralph adventure. It not only sparkles with the usual Ralph pranks, but also gives the feisty feline a little payback of sorts for a change." Booklist, ALA
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Can Mr. Fred's Feline Finishing School really expunge every trace of Ralph's unrepentant rottenness? For a few heart-stopping moments it seems so: although Ralph steadfastly resists the school's more conventional blandishments, he slips into a docile trance when Mr. Fred swings a watch back and forth before his eyes. His owner, Sarah, appalled by his impeccable but utterly bland demeanor, soon finds herself doing the unthinkable: luring Ralph into devilment by any means at hand. Depicting an inspired contest of wills between the normally notorious Ralph and his newly naughty taskmaster, this effort brims with Gantos and Rubel's characteristically and irresistibly funny details: Mr. Fred's ``golden rules'' prohibit meowing, hissing, burping and fun (Ralph makes a paper airplane of his copy); the pupils are admonished to keep their paws to themselves in a ``self-control room'' filled with enticingly fragile objects. Rubel's electrically colored, eccentrically patterned illustrations are as exuberant as ever: particularly rousing is Ralph's spiral-eyed, hypnotically vacant gaze. A cavil: there are a few errors in punctuation and diction (Sarah ``awards'' Ralph with a party). Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Rotten Ralph is such a mean cat that his young mistress tires of his mischievous ways and sends him to Mr. Fred's Feline Finishing School. There, he remains rotten until he is put in the ``final finishing room,'' where Mr. Fred hypnotizes the students so that they believe they are good. Sarah takes Ralph home and rewards him with a celebration; when he responds by falling asleep, she tries to restore him to his former self. She eats a goldfish, climbs the curtains, and more until Ralph remembers ``how good it felt to be rotten.'' Each full-page picture balances a page of text. The cartoon illustrations, with bold colors and graphic designs, are filled with small details that children will love. The text is comprised of simple, declarative sentences and lacks the humor of the pictures. Ralph's transformation is unconvincingly accomplished, but Sarah's change of heart is even less so. At the beginning she is frustrated by Ralph's behavior-her expressions register open-mouthed, wide-eyed shock. Her pet does not seem to endear himself to her in any way. Readers may well be perplexed when she sighs, "`I'm glad my Rotten Ralph is back.'" This is likely to appeal only to fans of the previous books.-Cynthia K. Richey, Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Rotten Ralph Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.15(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

NICOLE RUBEL has illustrated more than fifty books for children, including the Rotten Ralph series by Jack Gantos, which has been in print for more than twenty years. She lives in Oregon.

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