School for Bandits
written and illustrated by Hannah Shaw
Synopsis from Random House:
Ralph Raccoon looks perfectly normal. But he doesn’t act normal at all. He’s disturbingly well behaved, clean and tidy, shockingly polite, and he even brushes his teeth! Mr. and Mrs. Raccoon are worried—how will Ralph ever become a great raccoon bandit like Grandpa Cutlass or Uncle Whiskers? It’s time Ralph learned some bad manners . . . at Bandit School. Ralph has no chance of winning the “Best Bandit in School” competition—he’s not very bandit-like at all. But sometimes good manners can be useful, and Ralph just might surprise everyone–including himself.
When we first read School for Bandits, I thought it was going to be a sarcastic look at not only appropriate behaviour at school but also appropriate behaviour in general. I guess in a way it was, though the twist in the ending rights everything. The raccoons attending the School for Bandits are rude, mean and dishonest; just what the school was reinforcing. Ralph didn’t fit in. When Ralph thought he was destined to be a disappointment, a summer project from school changes everything. School for Bandits illustrates inappropriate behaviour in a humorous way; it’s a great way to reinforce how you expect kids (and adults) to behave. I also liked the cheeky take of using racoons as the characters, the bandits. When Ralph shows the other raccoons there are benefits to being well behaved, they want to change too. Kids will feel the same way with positive reinforcements.
School for Bandits is a great way to prepare kids for school (when you won’t be there to monitor or correct their behaviour) but it’s also a great book all year round.
You can add School for Bandits to your personal library by visiting your local book store or visiting Random House . Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations. What are you reading with your kids?
I have to thank Cassandra at Random House for my review copy.