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The Infamous Ratsos Hardcover – August 2, 2016
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From School Library Journal
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 Library
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...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.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books...The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers' sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos' "unwelcome" mat. A nicely inventive little morality "tail" for newly independent readers.
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. A solid purchase; a chapter book that entertains and uplifts.
—School Library Journal
Generous black-and-white illustrations evoke setting (a rundown city neighborhood) as well as reinforce the storyline and the light tone of the text, with its natural vocabulary. Here’s a beginning chapter book with heart.
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