cover image Rotten Ralph Trick or Treat CL

Rotten Ralph Trick or Treat CL

Jack Gantos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-395-38943-0

This Halloween story, one of a series of Rotten Ralph books, continues the exploits of the truly terrible cat belonging to a little girl, Sarah, who has the patience of a saint. Dressed as each other, the pair go to a costume party where everyone is convinced that it is Sarah, not Ralph, who pours the goldfish into the punch bowl and takes the lid off the popcorn popper. Sarah is humiliated, but Ralph is delighted when their hostess asks Sarah (and that nice cat of hers) to leave. Though Ralph does almost nothing to redeem himself, Sarah forgives him, saying, ""Oh, Ralph, you're still my best friend.'' Ralph's unpenitent devilry has great appeal for children, and this story's use of role reversal provides a thought-provoking twist. (4-8)