Three Strikes for Rotten Ralph (Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers)

Overview

Before he tries out for the new Fighting Squirrels baseball team, Rotten Ralph is sure he is going to be a superstar. Never mind that he doesn’t have any skills and doesn’t want to practice. While his owner, Sarah, is doing everything she can to make the team, she tries to help Ralph do his best, too. But with his imagination running wild, Ralph’s worst is what comes out.

Hoping to beat his cousin Percy in the cat show, Ralph ...

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Overview

Before he tries out for the new Fighting Squirrels baseball team, Rotten Ralph is sure he is going to be a superstar. Never mind that he doesn’t have any skills and doesn’t want to practice. While his owner, Sarah, is doing everything she can to make the team, she tries to help Ralph do his best, too. But with his imagination running wild, Ralph’s worst is what comes out.

Hoping to beat his cousin Percy in the cat show, Ralph allows Sarah to help him spruce up his image and get in shape.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this early reader, Ralph, the storied tomato-red cat with a jack-o-lantern grin, has home run aspirations. But when it's time for tryouts, Ralph is too focused on being a "superstar" to listen to his owner Sarah's advice. Though Sarah makes the Fighting Squirrels and Ralph doesn't, he becomes the team's "cat boy," giving him a chance to hone his skills. Busy daydreaming and practicing his autograph, Ralph doesn't bother practicing, and when he fills in for a sick player, his overconfidence results in a belly flop. Gantos and Rubel offer easy reading, funny pictures, and an accessible lesson about humility and hard work—sprinkled with some legit baseball pointers. Ages 6–8. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Gantos and Rubel offer easy reading, funny pictures, and an accessible lesson about humility and hard work—sprinkled with some legit baseball pointers."

Publishers Weekly

 

"Ralph’s ... irrepressible rottenness will delight newly independent readers."

Kirkus Reviews

 

"There is never a dull moment in this colorful and appealing early reader."

School Library Journal

 

"A quirky but warmhearted baseball story that will amuse young readers, sports fans or not."

Booklist

Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
Ralph has an active imagination: he imagines himself as a superstar baseball player without ever lifting a paw or bat. While Sarah, his caretaker, practices daily for the tryouts, Ralph mentally rehearses his dreams of glory. When Ralph doesn't make the team but Sarah does, Ralph is offered the job of bat/cat-boy, which he accepts. Some of the things he does are cat-worthy, but not appreciated by his human teammates, so the coach encourages him to do regular bat boy jobs like cleaning gum off the bleachers and sweeping the dugout. These are definitely not the jobs of a superstar, so when the chance to step in for a sick teammates comes about, Ralph steps up to the plate. Fortunately, he fails. The author wisely doesn't reward Rotten Ralph for never practicing; instead, Sarah gets to save the day. This chapter book targeted to early readers has lots of opportunities for reflective thinking and discussion. The short, concise chapters, almost complete stories in and of themselves, offer much to think about regarding the definition of practice, exploring the notion of making dreams come true, and what it means to be other-oriented as opposed to self-oriented. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Rotten Ralph has his future planned out. He's designed his own baseball card, embellished his uniform with the words Superstar #1, and practiced how he'll sign autographs and give interviews with the media. He hasn't worked on his hitting, throwing, or running skills though. After tryouts, Ralph's owner, Sarah, makes the team, but Ralph is designated the new "cat boy." His duties include washing socks and sweeping the dugout. During the season, he is given different responsibilities, but his dreams of stardom never materialize. Ralph's antics on and off the baseball field may seem rotten to some, but he manages to remain a superstar in Sarah's eyes. There is never a dull moment in this colorful and appealing early reader.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Kirkus Reviews

Has Ralph learned nothing in more than 30 years of misadventures and misbehavior? As always, when faced with a challenge, he takes the path of least effort. Sarah has endless patience with her recalcitrant cat while preparing for baseball tryouts. She practices throwing, fielding and hitting; he just practices his idea of superstar skills, like signing autographs and giving TV interviews. Of course his tryout is a disaster, but he becomes the "cat-boy." When he finally gets his chance, his showboating nearly loses the game. For this Rotten Ralph Rotten Reader, Gantos employs simple, direct language with just the right infusion of baseball jargon. He plays it straight, describing the events, the relationship between child and cat, the baseball action and the celebrity status of the game's heroes. Rubel's bright, sharp cartoons provide the hilarity, depicting Ralph's goofy expressions as he reluctantly performs his duties, including substituting for the "mighty flying squirrel" mascot, all the while imagining himself a hero and a media darling. Ralph's only redeeming quality is his love for Sarah, but his irrepressible rottenness will delight newly independent readers. (Early reader. 6-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374363543
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Series: Rotten Ralph Series , #5
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 945,991
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. They launched the Rotten Ralph Readers in 2001 with Rotten Ralph Helps Out.

 

In addition to the Rotten Ralph books, Jack Gantos is the author of Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, and Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Nicole Rubel's many books include Twice as Nice: What It's Like to Be a Twin and  Grody's Not So Golden Rules. She lives in Aurora, Oregon.

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