A 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book
Louie and Ralphie Ratso are no softies! Readers are sure to chuckle as the determined Ratso brothers' plans to act tough go hilariously awry. Louie and Ralphie Ratso's dad, Big Lou, always says that there are two kinds of people: those who are tough and those who are soft. Louie and Ralphie are tough, tough, tough, just like Big Lou, and they're going to prove it. But every time they try to show just how tough they are, the Ratso brothers end up accidentally doing good deeds instead. What'll Big Lou do when he finds out they've been acting like softies all over the Big City? Perfect for emerging and reluctant readers, this clever and surprisingly warmhearted chapter book shows that being tough all the time can be really tough.
Gr 2-4—Everyone in the Big City knows the Ratsos. Third grader Ralphie and fifth grader Louie live with their father, Big Lou, in the animal metropolis. Their mother's unexplained absence has the family resorting to "toughness" as a means of survival. Big Lou tells his sons to "hang tough." These half-pints surmise that talking about your feelings, making friends, and being kind are only for "softies." They plan to show how tough they are by pulling pranks on their classmates and neighbors. But all of their antics backfire, leading to unwanted consequences. This animal protagonist tale is lighthearted and fun. The writing is straightforward and easy, while the pen-and-ink artwork is detailed. These characters are complex enough to interest newly independent readers, and the story resolution is heartfelt and solid. The father-son dynamic is realistic and honest. Young readers will feel for the family as they learn to deal with the absence of a loved one. This slender novel packs a strong message of overcoming loss through love and kindness. VERDICT A solid purchase; a chapter book that entertains and uplifts.—Sada Mozer, Los Angeles Public LibraryCopyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Louie and Ralphie Ratso are determined to be as tough as their truck-driver father, but the rats' efforts go hilariously awry in this funny, thoughtful, and smart chapter book. In episodic escapades, they steal a classmate's hat, make a new student a sandwich from the "worst foods they can find," and soap a neighbor's windows, only to be met with gratitude. "Pickled mushrooms and beets and eggplant, just like my nana used to make!" gushes gleeful sandwich recipient Fluffy Rabbitski. LaReau packs substantial comedy and poignant emotion into each chapter (the boys' mother has "been gone for a little while now"), adeptly amplified by Myers's spot art. Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.