School for Bandits

K-Gr 2—Ralph's parents are worried about him. A good raccoon is not supposed to be clean, tidy, and polite, but their son is all of those things. They are so concerned about his behavior that they enroll him in a school for bandits to learn the bad manners that every raccoon must possess. His teacher, Mrs. Mischief, is disappointed in his progress, and his classmates make fun of him. Given the assignment to return after a vacation with a bag of loot acquired by dishonest means, Ralph surprises them with a heavy sack of goodies and wins the Best Bandit Competition. When the other students learn that he received the treats in return for doing good deeds, he teaches them to change their ways and their perceptions of what a good raccoon should be. He becomes a role model and the pride of his parents. This clever story is packed with childlike humor. The pen-and-ink drawings are in bold colors and are full of action and creative details. There is so much to explore that children will want to read this picture book again and again.—Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CT
Ralph is not a typical raccoon; he's neither sneaky nor rude. In school Ralph fails at his lessons (burping, throwing food). However, he wins a competition by using his best means--manners. Young readers will enjoy the twist on behavioral expectations while their parents will be reassured that good manners win in the end. Comically detailed mixed-media illustrations follow the antics.

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