A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beverly Cleary's Ralph S. Mouse series is full of the kind of delightful adventures and warm empathy that readers have long expected from the author. The books are a gentle throwback to a simpler time when screens and phones didn't distract kids from zooming cars around hallways, and are a reminder that young kids were often left to their own devices (not on their own devices) for many hours at a time. Young readers will enjoy what seems like a simple story, while more advanced readers will be able to see the depth and complexity of emotions on the pages. The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) is the first book in the trilogy, followed by Runaway Ralph (1970) and Ralph S. Mouse (1982).
What's the story?
In the RALPH S. MOUSE series, young, outgoing Ralph lives with his mouse family in a knothole in the wall of the Mountain View Inn. Craving adventure, he befriends a young boy staying at the inn who has the best toy motorcycle Ralph has ever seen. He's allowed to ride it -- terrifying his family by venturing out to the halls where the humans are -- and has the time of his life. When the human leaves the inn, he gives the motorcycle to Ralph, who befriends other humans, goes on far-flung adventures to new states, and drives more vehicles than just the beloved motorcycle.
Is it any good?
This is a sweet, kind series from start to finish, with plenty of gentle adventure and inspiration for tomfoolery. Who wouldn't want to find a friendly mouse zooming around on a shiny motorcycle or sports car, ready to talk about plans and listen to troubles? Beverly Cleary's Ralph S. Mouse series has a wonderfully even pace: just fast enough to keep more advanced readers' attention, slow enough that readers starting to dig into longer chapter books aren't overwhelmed, and a great read-aloud. The books are big on empathy among both mice and humans, and have a warmth that reminds readers to look for moments of wonder in the world around them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Ralph's relationship with the humans he interacts with in Ralph S. Mouse series. What does it take to build that kind of trust? Can you imagine being that small and vulnerable, and trusting others so much?
What kind of adventures would you take a mouse like Ralph on?
What other books about humans and their animal friends have you read? Which are your favorites?
- Author: Beverly Cleary
- Illustrator: Louis Darling
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date: January 1, 1965
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 186
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 7, 2020
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