cover image Rotten Ralph's Show+tell

Rotten Ralph's Show+tell

Jack Gantos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-44312-5

There are few things in childhood more embarrassing than being humiliated at school, and therein lies the charm of the latest in the Rotten Ralph series. By licking an entire stamp collection and breaking the strings on a violin, Ralph the cat makes it impossible for his owner Sarah to take anything to Show and Tell. So she takes Ralph himself, and he repays her by being his own irritating self. He knocks over the ant farm, scatters chalk dust and, worst of all, grabs the school bell and rings it. Readers will be cheered by the cat's awful antics, but even though the spirit of the book is all in fun, the image of a teacher crowning anyone--even a rotten cat--with a dunce cap after making mistakes on his ABCs is less than good-humored. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)