Rotten Ralph’s Trick or Treat
Illustrated by Nicole Rubel
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986
From the dust jacket, “Ralph is back, and he’s rotten as ever. And now it’s one of his favorite times of the year—Halloween!
“Wherever Sarah’s cat goes, there’s trouble. And there’s sure to be more when Sarah gets an invitation to a Halloween party that says, ‘Come as the thing you love best’. Of course Sarah must go as Ralph. And that means double trouble.
“Will Sarah’s friends ever forgive her? Will Sarah ever forgive Ralph? As always, Sarah’s love for Ralph shines through, and Ralph is always Rotten Ralph.”
This is the first Rotten Ralph book I’ve read and will likely be the last. It wasn’t the story so much as the illustrations. Or, maybe, it was both. I don’t like reading about ‘rotten’ cats – even if it’s funny and written for kittens. I know kittens can be rotten and they’ll get a kick out of reading about Ralph’s antics (goldfish in the punch bowl; popcorn flying all over the kitchen) but I didn’t really enjoy it. And, I didn’t like the illustrations of Ralph. He’s ugly – and not the ‘so ugly, he’s cute’ ugly. Just plain ugly. Maybe the author and illustrator wanted him that way because he is rotten. But cute kittens can be rotten, too. And I (as always) prefer my illustrated kitties to be cute, beautiful, or at the very least, ugly-cute. Ralph is none of those things and it sort of ruined to story for me.
The good point of the story is no matter how rotten Ralph was, no matter how much Sarah got mad at him and told him off, in the end, she still loves him and forgives him. And it’s that saving grace that didn’t get a super low rating from me. Every kitten (and adult) needs reminding now and then that no matter how rotten they are, their loved ones still love and accept them (even if they get sent to bed without any supper!)
Rating: 3 out of 5 paws – the main message of the story saves it from being in the bottom of the barrel of ratings!