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Practice Makes Perfect for Rotten Ralph

Practice Makes Perfect for Rotten Ralph

by Jack Gantos

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When he, Percy, and Sarah play games at the carnival, Ralph learns the value of winning prizes honestly.


When he, Percy, and Sarah play games at the carnival, Ralph learns the value of winning prizes honestly.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Several stars of early readers return for more adventures. Let loose at the carnival, the star of Practice Makes Perfect for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos, illus. by Nicole Rubel, tries to outplay Cousin Percy and impress Sarah, his owner. The hero resorts to cheating, but, by the end of this Rotten Ralph Rotten Reader, he repents, returns his ill-gotten booty and wins a prize the right way. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Latest in the early-reader series that started with the publication of Rotten Ralph in 1976, this lucky-13th tale pits mischievous Ralph, the naughty, tabby cat, against his hoity-toity, tiger-striped, feline cousin Percy. With their human friend Sarah, they visit the newly arrived carnival to have a day of fun and games. Cousin Percy's long practice tossing balls and beanbags at various targets in his house pays off, and he wins an armful of prizes for Sarah. Ralph, on the other hand, sure of his own prowess, keeps missing and losing—until he decides to start cheating. Confronted with his duplicity, Rotten R. reluctantly returns his ill-gotten gain and, thus, wins back Sarah's approval. Having resolved to try one last game, the dunking booth, Ralph and his exuberant, high spirits win the day. Young readers who are ready to move from simple picture books to simple word-and-chapter books will be delighted with this carnival romp and learn that pride never pays (neither Ralph's kind, nor Percy's), honesty is always the best policy, and, of course, practice makes perfect. Hopefully, children's librarians will have the whole series in their collections. Like any memorable fairy tale, this story has it all—entertainment and a moral (or two or three). Thanks to Rubel's extravagantly colored illustrations, both the eye and the mind come away winners. 2002, Farrar Straus Giroux,
— Earlene Viano
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Themes of jealousy, boasting, cheating, and getting one's comeuppance are all touched on in this second book in the easy-reader series. When the carnival comes to town, Sarah, Ralph, and his cousin Percy are excited to attend. Percy has been practicing his skills so that he can win prizes, and win he does, much to Ralph's chagrin. The feline's jealousy and frustration lead him to gather prizes through unorthodox (and unethical) means until Sarah makes him do the right thing. The four-chapter adventure is illustrated with the familiar, brightly colored pictures that Rotten Ralph's fans have enjoyed for years. Though he is a troublesome cat, readers know that somehow he will learn a lesson and that Sarah will love him no matter what. An enjoyable addition to any beginning-reader collection.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Gantos brings back that rascally red Rotten Ralph for the second entry in the Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers series (Rotten Ralph Helps Out, 2001). This time, the irrepressible, irresponsible Ralph and his owner, Sally, are joined by Ralph's tiger-striped, supremely confident cousin Percy for a trip to a carnival and its midway full of familiar games of chance. To Rotten Ralph's chagrin, the perfect Percy wins all the carnival games (he practiced), and Ralph finally resorts to cheating so he can win some prizes, too. Ralph gets his comeuppance, of course, as he always does, and he has to return his ill-gotten gains and suffer some mild consequences before finally winning the last game of the day fair and square. (And guess who ends up in the dunk tank.) Gantos has a winning formula with this transitional easy reader series: a funny, somewhat "naughty" character; amusing art in a recognizable style; and a worthwhile little lesson that both kids and adults will appreciate. (This is just the title to recommend to teachers who want a story that will nip cheating in the bud.) Though this plot is not as innovative as the first entry in the series, Ralph has his own special niche in the world of children's literature, and now on the easy-reader shelves, too. And of course, he'll be back for more of these delightful readers-because practice makes perfect. (Easy reader. 5-8)

Product Details

Perfection Learning Corporation
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel have created the Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers, which launched in 2001 with Rotten Ralph Helps Out. Mr. Gantos lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and Ms. Rubel lives in Aurora, Oregon.

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