Thursday, April 08, 2021

Conflict Resolution! The Infamous Ratsos: Ratty Tattletale by Kara LaReau

The Bully Boys are at it again. No sooner has little Tiny declared that he loves Mondays than Kurt Musky and Sid Chatterer snatch him up to toss up and down the school hallway.

"Cut it out, guys!" yells Tiny.

"Aw, he's so cute when he's angry," says Sid.

"Stop being so uptight, Crawley," says Kurt.

Millicent is moved to call a teacher, but Tiny stops her, saying that will only make it worse. Ralphie's warnings to the rowdies don't help, until at last Mrs. Beaver, the third-grade teacher steps out of her door and dispatches the two bullies to the principal's office. But now Ralphie knows he'd better watch his back.

And he's right. At lunch Sid and Kurt flip his lunch, and Ralphie has to clean up the mess while the bullies snicker. Still Ralphie is mum about the bullying around his big brother Louie, hoping to handle the problem himself. But at recess Sid and Kurt gang up on Tiny in Bombardment, and when Ralphie nails them with two balls, one after the other, he and the two bullies are all O-U-T of the game! Now, Ralphie knows he's on the two troublemaker's hit list. And when school's out, he finds his backpack in the trash can with a note:


Still, Ralphie is determined to keep the harassment to himself. Walking home with his brother Louie, he suggests they take a new way home, one that takes them by Mrs. Porcupini's, who offers them some of her hot cookies and cold milk. Just as the famished Ralphie is about to take a bite, the two bullies appear.

"Well, well, well," said Kurt, cracking his knuckles. "If it isn't our old pal, Ratty Tattletale!"

Now Louie gets what's going on and tells his little brother he should report the bullies to the principal. Ralphie refuses, on the grounds that tattling is not cool.

But when Ralphie tries to enter the arms race with Kurt and and Sid's pea shooters, things take a turn for the worst, resulting in the smashing of Mrs. Porcupini's window, and Ralphie agrees that it's time to 'fess up to their dad, Big Lou, about what's been going on, in Kara LaReau's latest in her The Infamous Ratsos series, The Infamous Ratsos: Ratty Tattletale (Candlewick Press, 2021). Choosing when to fight your own battles and when to ask for help is not easy, but in this Geisel Honor-winning series, all ends with a peaceful solution in what Ralphie calls "A smashing success." Along with Matt Myers' funny illustrations, author Kara LaReau's beginning chapter books offer comic considerations of those real-life early school days problems for developing readers.

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