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? The recipient of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor, this clever and surprisingly warmhearted chapter book shows that being tough all the time can be really tough.
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.--Kirkus Reviews 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.--Horn Book
Kara LaReau is the author of a number of picture books, including Ugly Fish, Mr. Prickles, and Otto: The Boy Who Loved Cars, all illustrated by Scott Magoon. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her family. Matt Myers is the illustrator of E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help from a Hen by Judy Sierra, and Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind by Gary Ross, as well as many other books for young readers. Matt Myers lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.