The Infamous Ratsos

Written by Kara LaReau • Candlewick Press, 2016.

2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book

Whenever Louie and Ralphie try to do something mean, they bungle it. But is doing good so bad after all?


Making vermin cute

Actually, cute is an overstatement. Besides, the Ratso brothers would be pretty upset if I made them cute. Let's just say the young rats are not as repulsive as they would like to be. Actually, I once had two pet rats. They were pretty sweet.

This is the first chapter book in a series. The second book is The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid, and the third, The Infamous Ratsos: Project Fluffy will be available later this year. The covers will all be full color, the interior art in black-and-white.

You can see interviews with me and author Kara LaReau here.

Scroll down for early sketches from the book.   Click on any image to enlarge it. 

The World's Worst Sandwich • Ink and watercolor on paper

Snowy Morning • Ink and watercolor on paper

Cover art • Oil on illustration board.

We All Miss Her • Ink and watercolor on paper 

Shoveling • Ink and watercolor on paper

Mrs. Porcupini's Window • Ink and watercolor on paper

The Wrong Walkway • Ink and watercolor on paper 

Playground Prank • Ink and watercolor on paper


Character studies. This was to show the relative proportions, since several animal species are represented.

Sketches for the cover art. I was experimenting with different poses.

Sketch for The Wrong Walkway. In the final art the bear became a rabbit.

A page from the layout, including preliminary watercolor for The Wrong Walkway. Note how different the Ratso Brothers look, from the sketch to the final art.