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The Infamous Ratsos

(The Infamous Ratsos #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  843 ratings  ·  231 reviews
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 f ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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The Library Lady
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Okay, I am a cynical, cranky, snarky type, but this book made me cry.

Early elementary age kids who read it, probably won't get that. They'll just be enjoying the humor as the Ratso brothers keep trying to emulate their "tough" dad, while each time their badness backfires on them, and they end up as the local good guys.

There are messages here, good ones about how "tough" doesn't need to equal "mean," and how "tough" guys can cry. They're not hammered home mercilessly. But they are there.

And in th
Wendi Lee
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't tend to read elementary level chapter books for fun, but this one is part of my stepson's Battle of the Books competition, and I found myself liking it quite a bit. It's a snappy read about two rat brothers who try their hardest to cause trouble for their school and neighborhood - and end up doing the opposite. Lots of fun, I'll look for the rest of the books.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Infamous Ratsos is the first book in a children's series about two mischievous brothers whose “tough” intentions don’t work out quite the way they planned. This chapter book is geared for kids 5-8, but I read it out loud with my 8 and 11 year old and we all loved it. I even teared up at the end. It’s just lovely. Kara writes with humor and heart, and I guarantee the lessons the Ratso brothers learn will speak volumes to your kids, too. The illustrations are whimsical, the chapters short, and ...more
Interesting. I'm curious to see what other library staff friends think of this one.

Kids can be mean. And these kids, the Ratso brothers, think they need to be tough (mean) like their dad. The silliness of their mean-ness backfiring will be appealing to young readers, I think. And I can imagine parents reading this aloud and using it as a way to talk about feelings, bullies, and why people (including kids) do the things they do.

Books are places for kids to play out emotional situations in a saf
Susan  Dunn
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Louie and Ralphie Ratso are determined to be tough and mean, just like their dad, Big Lou. But every time they try to do something nasty, it turns out to be anything but. How can the siblings stop doing good deeds on accident?! A short, sweet and fun beginning chapter book.
Ms. Yingling
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Pleasant enough, and it is kind of funny that the brothers keep trying to get into trouble but end up doing good things for people. Also, I sort of want to know where the mother is. A very early reader, so perfect for some of my struggling 6th graders.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Whatever you do, do *not* tell your student or child the ending. Especially if s/he chose it for themselves.

I might have given the book five stars were it not for some unfortunate stereotypes. None are racist or a big deal, or even worth specifying, but I do wish authors and illustrators would think before using cliches that are inaccurate.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hang tough with the delightful Ratso brothers. Charming and heartfelt.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Ratso brothers want to be tough just like their dad. Every time they think up something tough to do, the people involved thank them! Whether it's stealing a tiny hat from a big bully in front of a teacher who gives it back to its owner or making what they think is the most disgusting sandwich ever for the new girl who ends up loving it, they end up looking kind and helpful instead of their intended "tough". When their dad finds out, he commends them for their actions and encourages them all ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun book for the beginning chapter book crowd. The two brothers, Ralphie and Louie, want to demonstrate how brave and tough they are...except their plans never seem to go the way they expect. Sweet ending. This reminds me a bit of the series The Bad Guys: Episode 1. ...more
Marta Boksenbaum
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
The infamous ratsos want to be tough like their father, so they make plans to do things that will show everyone how tough they are. However, they always accidentally help people, making them frustrated and more determined to show everyone they are tough.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfect for kids just ready to move out of the easy reader format with a super sweet plot.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Goodness gracious this is adorable. This could be such a good opportunity to talk about toxic masculinity as well as the need for kindness. Very sweet early reader that everyone can enjoy!
Cute story! I can't wait to hear more about the Ratsos. Monarch 2019 nominee.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-readers
This is a battle of the books selection for next year for 3-4th grades. It was a little bit silly, but I think overall it had a good message. Kids don't seem to care much about that, but I think they will still find the story fun.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read for children. The two brothers look up to their father and through out the book try to do things that they think make them "tough" to impress their dad. However, most of their ideas are ways to hurt someone, but their ideas end up helping people instead. In the end, they find that their dad is very proud of his children and the impact their good deeds had on the community.
Great lesson on how being tough does not mean being hurtful, but instead can mean being helpful.
Tracy Smith
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good beginning chapter book about two brothers trying to be extra tough and mean, but always managing to do the right thing instead!
Pop Bop
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
More Heart Than I Expected

So, the premise is that the Ratso brothers are trying to be as tough as their tough guy Dad, but every mean/tough trick they try turns out to have a happy ending. This, needless to say, is very frustrating for these punk wannabees. Now, that's an interesting premise with a lot of potential, but boy is it loaded with maybe even more potential pitfalls.

All the Ratsos too nasty? Is Dad a bully jerk? Are the pranks too mean? More to the point, does the author have the chops
In this funny and surprisingly heartfelt story, Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be tough just like their dad, Big Lou. But their plan backfires when every prank they try to pull ends up helping someone instead! I was sold on this book from the moment I heard the plot summary. It's such a fun idea, and my smile grew a little more every time another one of the Ratsos' plans went awry - in the best possible way! The Ratso brothers have some great dialogue too as they try to insist how tough they ar ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
It was ok, it was not what I expected though. I expected something about a circus. Instead it was about two brothers and their dad. It talked a little bit about the loss of their mom and how their dad had to be tough. It is great thought to see how two brothers help each other out.
Stacy Fetters
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Hang Tough!!
Received at BEA Chicago!!

Louie and Ralphie are the Ratso brothers and they are nothing but tough tough tough. Always following in the footsteps of big old dad, Big Lou.
There are only two types of people in this world... toughs and softies and the Ratsos want to be tough.
So, they decide to get tough with everyone. Scheming and planning so people will call them the toughest.
Well, every prank they pull turns out to be something nice and they keep getting nicer than the last. Whew! These
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I pulled this book off my friend's shelf and I'm so glad I did! The Infamous Ratsos is a delight and will be a hit with young readers. Louie and Ralphie just want to be bad, but they're so bad at it. It's like a backwards Amelia Bedelia for "toughies."

I loved the presence of the father, "Big Lou," and the break down of tough masculine stereotypes- it added a lot of heart to this fun story.

There are great illustrations on every page or so.

In the dedication, the author mentions that her grandfat
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chapterbooks
My 7-year-old son loved this book and found it hilarious. It also sparked some interesting conversations (both during and after the book, as he kept thinking about it) about what "tough" really means! I meant to only read him a few chapters this morning, but he insisted on hearing the whole thing over breakfast, and I was enjoying it so much, too, that it was easy to agree. :)
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Infamous Ratsos

What a cute little series for early readers. The first book in the series is The Infamous Ratsos and it consists of two brothers who live with their father in the city. Their father Big Lou is tough and they want to be like him so they try to be tough also. They think of ways that they can look tough to others and perform these tasks but unfortunately these tasks backfire on them. Individuals begin to like the brothers and this prompts the brothers to try even harder on their
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Infamous Ratsos is Penelope’s April book club pick for the Bookworms Book Club at the Kewaunee Public Library for children from 1st grade through 3rd grade. Penelope loves going to book club and also loves selecting new books to read afterwards. My mother-in-law Gert takes Penelope to book club at 3:30 PM after school since I’m still working. Penelope loves to come home with a pile of books afterwards. We read her official book right away this time as last month we waited until the last minu ...more
Sunah Chung
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes children misunderstand adults’ actions and manners. They also believe that being cool and tough is better than being nice and soft. The Infamous Ratsos is about two brothers who want to be tough like their father. The Ratso brothers think their father is tough, and they want to be like him. They believe that being tough means doing bad things to their peers and neighbors, which can cause troubles. Despite their efforts to be tough, their actions result in good deeds for their classmate ...more
This is a difficult one to review. My first reaction was fairly negative and then I read others's reviews and wondered if I was being too harsh. So I waited a week and read it again, trying to keep an open mind.

But the bottom line is that although the Ratso brothers and dad seem to appreciate the value of kindness in the end, the boys' pranks just bordered too much on meanness for me. Their intent is to be mean (albeit because they are mistakenly confusing it with toughness), and their transiti
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Children, more than anyone else, are quick to indignation about life's unfairness. Often such ire is about getting in trouble for actions meant to be helpful that led to unintended consequences. Louie and Ralphie have the opposite problem: no matter what they do in the pursuit of causing trouble, they get praised for being considerate and kind.

Their problems stem from an innocent misunderstanding. The 3rd and 5th graders lost their mother a little while back, and they're being raised by their tr
Abby Johnson
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I saw this on Betsy Bird's list of 2016 chapter books because I never would have picked it up on my own and I'd have missed an unexpectedly touching story.

The Ratso brothers have to be tough like their dad. And being tough means you have to act tough and do things so that others will see how tough you are. Things like taking a kid's hat on the playground. But somehow their tough acts always get turned around into nice things for other people, like when they take that kid's hat they rea
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books
The Ratsos brothers want to be tough, just like their father! They feel that to show that they are tough, they cannot display their emotions and must prove their toughness through practical jokes on others. However, each time they attempt to do anything remotely mean, their plan backfires on them and leaves their victim better off than when they started. This earns the brothers praise for their kindness, but they feel this doesn't make them tough. Their father also sees the good deeds his sons h ...more
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Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. Among other celebrated titles, she edited Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and the ...more

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The Infamous Ratsos (4 books)
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