Title: School for Bandits
Author(s): Hannah Shaw
Publisher and Year: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011
Number of pages: 32
Genre: Fiction, fable
Descriptive Annotation: Ralph does not act like a normal raccoon; he brushes his teeth, vacuums and even takes baths. His parents do not approve of this behavior and cannot see how he’ll live up to his families expectations so they send him to the Bandit School. His teacher, Mrs. Mischief, first teaches the raccoons to burp to which Ralph excuses himself. In fact, the entire first week of school goes badly for the raccoon who does not act like the others. Mrs. Mischief challenges her students to fill their sacks with loot by the end of vacation. Ralph does not want to cause trouble so he does not do anything during vacation, but when he is walking to school, he ends up overfilling his sack with presents after helping other animals. The other raccoons are eager to find out how he filled his sack so Ralph renames the Bandit School to School for Good Manners and begins to teach.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Ralph is not like the other raccoons and ends up sticking out like a sore thumb. Students may relate if they have trouble making new friends in school because Ralph does not act like the others. There are animals that are not raccoons in the book, but they do not have a major role other than to need assistance and give Ralph treats. It could be stretched that the other animals are lesser and the raccoons are more important/the only ones able to help which could be compared to discrimination.
Interdisciplinary Connections: Students may be able to make connections to Ralph, such as having to go to a new school with new teachers, classmates and rules. During a compare/contrast unit, have students compare the rules they have in their classroom to the rules Mrs. Mischief has for her students. During a lesson on math, you could count how many good things Ralph does to help people and then compare that to his classmates’ original behavior. The last page has all the good deeds that the other raccoons do, so you could also compare those.
Other Information: I enjoyed this book, especially since it was a non-example of good behavior. I think that children would appreciate this book for the previous reason and that their school/teacher is nothing like that one. This is the first book that Hannah Shaw has written, but she illustrated I Don’t Believe It, Archie! by Andrew Norriss.