Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE NINE LIVES OF ROTTEN RALPH by Jack Gantos

THE NINE LIVES OF ROTTEN RALPH

By Jack Gantos (Author) , Nicole Rubel (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: May 4th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-618-80046-9
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

The bright red feline counter-Clifford faces his greatest challenge yet when the vet announces that he’s gone through eight of his allotted lives. How could that have happened? Sitting down with his human companion Sarah he recaps each fatality (adding new but more-or-less plausible incidents to eight of his previously published outings)—and is instantly strapped into a baby carriage, subjected to a rigidly controlled diet (complete with Vital Vitamins and Anti-Germ Juice) and locked indoors. As fans will instantly guess, that doesn’t last long. Ralph is out the window in no time, off to (evidently) nonfatal encounters with an electric eel and a wild carnival ride. As chubby and malicious-looking as ever, Ralph occupies the visual center in each of Rubel’s bright, stylized scenes and, 33 years since his first outing, is as much a poster cat for vicarious acting-up as ever. His resolve to live his last life as vigorously as his first eight may inspire adult readers more than children, but there’s nothing wrong with that. (Picture book. 6-8)