Back to School for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel

Summer is over, and Sarah
is excited for school to start
so that she can make new
friends. However, her cat,
Rotten Ralph, wants to be
her only friend. He disguises
himself and gets on the
school bus to follow her to
class. Although Ralph plans to sabotage Sarah’s attempts to make friends,
it all backfires when his identity is revealed and everyone wants to be
friends with him and Sarah.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think Rotten Ralph didn’t want Sarah to make new friends?
  2. Rather than pulling all of the mischievous pranks and tricks, what
    should Ralph have done?
  3. Have you ever had a friend that you wanted all to yourself? What did
    you do? How did you feel?
  4. With a partner, talk about Ralph’s disguise. Together, draw a picture of
    how you think Ralph looked when he got on the bus. Share the picture
    with your class.
  5. Whole group activity: Imagine you are Rotten Ralph. Brainstorm things
    you could do while waiting for Sarah to return from school.