The Mouse and the Motorcycle

( 227 )

Overview

Ralph the mouse was terrified. All he had wanted to do was ride the little motorcycle someone had left on the table. Instead, both Ralph and the motorcycle had taken a terrible fall - right into the bottom of the wastepaper basket. He was trapped, left to wait for whatever fate was in store for him.

But it turned out to be Ralph's lucky day. Along came Keith, the owner of the toy motorcycle, who was staying with his family in the hotel room where Ralph lives. Not only did Keith ...

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The Mouse and the Motorcycle

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Overview

Ralph the mouse was terrified. All he had wanted to do was ride the little motorcycle someone had left on the table. Instead, both Ralph and the motorcycle had taken a terrible fall - right into the bottom of the wastepaper basket. He was trapped, left to wait for whatever fate was in store for him.

But it turned out to be Ralph's lucky day. Along came Keith, the owner of the toy motorcycle, who was staying with his family in the hotel room where Ralph lives. Not only did Keith save Ralph's life, but he taught him how to ride the bike. And, when everyone was asleep, he turned Ralph loose in the hotel halls to enjoy the biking adventure of his life. But adventures can be both fun and trouble...as Ralph and Keith soon find out!

A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn. Together they discover the joys of motorcycling. This story has been around for more than thirty years and has become a "classic" in children's literature. 1995 (orig.
Chicago Tribune
One might know that if Beverly Cleary were to invent a mouse, it would be a down-to-earth, boyish mouse with a proclivity for getting into scrapes. A good story!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380709243
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1990
  • Series: Mouse and the Motorcycle Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 30,248
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.

Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.

Jaqueline Rogers has been a professional children's book illustrator for more than twenty years and has worked on nearly one hundred children's books.

Biography

Beverly Cleary was inadvertently doing market research for her books before she wrote them, as a young children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. Cleary heard a lot about what kids were and weren’t responding to in literature, and she thought of her library patrons when she later sat down to write her first book.

Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was an effort to represent kids like the ones in Yakima and like the ones in her childhood neighborhood in Oregon. The bunch from Klickitat Street live in modest houses in a quiet neighborhood, but they’re busy: busy with rambunctious dogs (one Ribsy, to be precise), paper routes, robot building, school, bicycle acquisitions, and other projects. Cleary was particularly sensitive to the boys from her library days who complained that they could find nothing of interest to read – and Ralph and the Motorcycle was inspired by her son, who in fourth grade said he wanted to read about motorcycles. Fifteen years after her Henry books, Cleary would concoct the delightful story of a boy who teaches Ralph to ride his red toy motorcycle.

Cleary’s best known character, however, is a girl: Ramona Quimby, the sometimes difficult but always entertaining little sister whom Cleary follows from kindergarten to fourth grade in a series of books. Ramona is a Henry Huggins neighbor who, with her sister, got her first proper introduction in Beezus and Ramona, adding a dimension of sibling dynamics to the adventures on Klickitat Street. Cleary’s stories, so simple and so true, deftly portrayed the exasperation and exuberance of being a kid. Finally, an author seemed to understand perfectly about bossy/pesty siblings, unfair teachers, playmate politics, the joys of clubhouses and the perils of sub-mattress monsters.

Cleary is one of the rare children’s authors who has been able to engage both boys and girls on their own terms, mostly through either Henry Huggins or Ramona and Beezus. She has not limited herself to those characters, though. In 1983, she won the Newbery Medal with Dear Mr. Henshaw, the story of a boy coping with his parents’ divorce, as told through his journal entries and correspondence with his favorite author. She has also written a few books for older girls (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Sister of the Bride, and Jean and Johnny) mostly focusing on first love and family relationships. A set of books for beginning readers stars four-year-old twins Jimmy and Janet.

Some of Cleary’s books – particularly her titles for young adults – may seem somewhat alien to kids whose daily lives don’t feature soda fountains, bottles of ink, or even learning cursive. Still, the author’s stories and characters stand the test of time; and she nails the basic concerns of childhood and adolescence. Her books (particularly the more modern Ramona series, which touches on the repercussions of a father’s job loss and a mother’s return to work) remain relevant classics.

Cleary has said in an essay that she wrote her two autobiographical books, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, "because I wanted to tell young readers what life was like in safer, simpler, less-prosperous times, so different from today." She has conveyed that safer, simpler era -- still fraught with its own timeless concerns -- to children in her fiction as well, more than half a century after her first books were released.

Good To Know

Word processing is not Cleary's style. She writes, "I write in longhand on yellow legal pads. Some pages turn out right the first time (hooray!), some pages I revise once or twice and some I revise half-a-dozen times. I then attack my enemy the typewriter and produce a badly typed manuscript which I take to a typist whose fingers somehow hit the right keys. No, I do not use a computer. Everybody asks."

Cleary usually starts her books on January 2.

Up until she was six, Cleary lived in Yamhill, Oregon -- a town so small it had no library. Cleary's mother took up the job of librarian, asking for books to be sent from the state branch and lending them out from a lodge room over a bank. It was, Clearly remembers, "a dingy room filled with shabby leather-covered chairs and smelling of stale cigar smoke. The books were shelved in a donated china cabinet. It was there I made the most magical discovery: There were books written especially for children!"

Cleary authored a series of tie-in books in the early 1960s for classic TV show Leave It to Beaver.

Cleary's books appear in over 20 countries in 14 languages.

Cleary's book The Luckiest Girl is based in part on her own young adulthood, when a cousin of her mother's offered to take Beverly for the summer and have her attend Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California. Cleary went from there to the University of California at Berkeley.

The actress Sarah Polley got her start playing Ramona in the late ‘80s TV series. Says Cleary in a Q & A on her web site: “I won’t let go of the rights for television productions unless I have script approval. There have been companies that have wanted the movie rights to Ramona, but they won’t let me have script approval, and so I say no. I did have script approval for the television productions of the Ramona series…. I thought Sarah Polley was a good little actress, a real little professional.”

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    1. Also Known As:
      Beverly Atlee Bunn (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Carmel, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      McMinnville, Oregon
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

Read an Excerpt

Mouse and the Motorcycle, The AER

Chapter One

The New Guests

Keith, the boy in the rumpled shorts and shirt, did not know he was being watched as he entered room 215 of the Mountain View Inn. Neither did his mother and father, who both looked hot and tired. They had come from Ohio and for five days had driven across plains and deserts and over mountains to the old hotel in the California foothills twenty-five miles from Highway 40.

The fourth person entering room 215 may have known he was being watched, but he did not care. He was Matt, sixty if he was a day, who at the moment was the bellboy. Matt also replaced wornout light bulbs, renewed washers in leaky faucets, carried trays for people who telephoned room service to order food sent to their rooms, and sometimes prevented children from hitting one another with croquet mallets on the lawn behind the hotel.

Now Matt's right shoulder sagged with the weight of one of the bags he was carrying. "Here you are, Mr. Gridley. Rooms 215 and 216," he said, setting the smaller of the bags on a luggage rack at the foot of the double bed before be opened a door into the next room. I expect you and Mrs. Gridley will want room 216. It is a comer room with twin beds and a private bath." He carried the heavy bag into the next room where he could be heard opening windows. Outside a chipmunk chattered in a pine tree and a chickadee whistled fee-bee-bee.

The boy's mother looked critically around room 215 and whispered, I think we should drive back to the main highway. There must be a motel with a Vacancy sign someplace. We didn't look long enough. "

"Not another mile" answered thefather. "I'm not driving another mile on a California highway on a holiday weekend. Did you see the way that truck almost forced us off the road?"

"Dad, did you see those two fellows on motorcycles-" began the boy and stopped, realizing he should not interrupt an argument.

" But this place is so old," protested the boys mother. "And we have only three weeks for our whole trip. We had planned to spend the Fourth of July weekend in San Francisco and we wanted to show Keith as much of the United States as we could."

San Francisco will have to wait and this is part of the United States. Besides, this used to be a very fashionable hotel," said Mr. Gridley. "People came from miles around."

"Fifty years ago," said Mrs. Gridley. "And they came by horse and buggy."

The bellboy returned to room 215. "The dining room opens at six-thirty, sir. There is ping-pong in the game room, TV in the lobby, and croquet on the back lawn. I'm sure you will be very comfortable." Matt, who had seen guests come and go for many years, knew there were two kinds-those who thought the hotel was a dreadful old barn of a place and those who thought it charming and quaint, so quiet and restful.

" Of course we will be comfortable," said Mr. Gridley, dropping some coins into Matt's hand for carrying the bags.

"But this big old hotel is positively spooky." Mrs. Gridley made one last protest. "It is probably full Of mice."

Matt opened the window wide. "Mice? Oh no, ma I am. The management wouldn't stand for mice.

"I wouldn't mind a few mice," the boy said, as he looked around the room at the high ceiling, the knotty pine walls, the carpet so threadbare that many of its roses had almost entirely faded, the one chair with the antimacassar on its back, the washbasin and towel racks in the comer of the room. "I like it here," he announced.. "A whole room to myself. Usually I just get a cot in the comer of a motel room."

His mother smiled, relenting. Then she turned to Matt."I'm sorry. It's just that it was so hot crossing Nevada and we are not used to mountain driving. Back on the highway the traffic was bumper to bumper. I'm sure we shall be very comfortable."

After Matt bad gone, closing the door behind him, Mr. Gridley said, I need a rest before dinner. Four hundred miles of driving and that mountain traffic! It was too much."

"And if we are going to stay for a weekend I had better unpack," said Mrs. Gridley. "At least I'll have a chance to do some drip-drying"

.

Alone in room 215 and unaware that he was being watched, the boy began to explore. He got down on his hands and knees and looked under the bed. He leaned out the open window as far as he could and greedily inhaled deep breaths of pine-scented air. He turned the hot and cold water on and off in the washbasin and slipped one of the small bars of paper-wrapped soap into his pocket. Under the window he discovered a knothole in the pine wall down by the floor and squatting, poked his finger into the hole. When he felt nothing inside he lost interest.

Next Keith opened his suitcase and took out an apple and several small cars-a sedan, a sports car, and an ambulance about six inches long, and a red motorcycle half the length of the cars-which he dropped on the striped bedspread before he bit into the apple. He ate the apple noisily in big chomping bites, and then laid the core on the bedside table between the lamp and the telephone.

Keith began to play, running his cars up and down the bedspread, pretending that the stripes on the spread were highways and making noises with his mouth-vroom vroom for the sports car, wh-e-e wh-e-e for the ambulance and pb-pb-b-b-b for the motorcycle, up and down the stripes.

Once Keith stopped suddenly and looked quickly around the room as is he expected to see something or someone but hwne he saw nothing unusual he returned to his cars. Vroom, vroom. Bang! Crash! The Sports car hit the sedan and rolled off the highway stripe. Pb-pb-b-b-b-. The motorcycle came roaring tot he scene of the crash.

"Keith," his mother called from the next room.

"Time to get washed for dinner."

"O.K." Keith parked his cars in a striaght line on the bedside table beside the telephone where they looked like a row of real cars only much, much smaller.

The first thing Mrs. Gridley noticed when she and Mr. Gridley came into the room was the apple core on the table. She dropped it with a thunk into the metal wastebasket beside the table as she gave several quick little sniffs of the air and said, looking perplexed, I don't care what the bellboy said. I'm sure this hotel has mice."

I hope so," muttered Keith.

Mouse and the Motorcycle, The AER
. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 227 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(156)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 228 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2011

    Read this amazing book!!

    Beverly Cleary wrote Mouse and the Motorcycle. Ralph the mouse comes out of his knothole and climbs up the telephone line to the end of the table. He got on the motorcycle when the telephone rang, it startled Ralph and he fell into the wastebasket. Keith found him and taught Ralph how to ride the motorcycle. Then the friendship begins and many awesome adventures start. I recommend this book to 3rd-5th graders.

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    The best book ever

    I have read it at school and it is awesome. I would recomend this to anyone who likes humor and adventure.its beverly clearys best book yet

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Awsome

    This is a really good book

    13 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    Cute story!

    My daughter loves the Ramona books so we added this to our collection. It's a very cute story. Funny too.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    I loved it!

    This was such a fun book. I liked reading about the mouse and the boy and how they became friends. I recommend it for other kids my age.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    Great to read to a preschooler.

    Great for young children. I read it to my four year old, I loved that it had language appropriate for a four year old. So many of the books have what our daycare center considers potty words. With a great story line that I enjoyed.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Reveiw

    My friend says it is a really good book,

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another Beverly Cleary classic

    This book was a favorite of mine in grade school. I bought it as a gift for one of my cousins. He loves the book too. Not difficult to read and full of great imagination, this book will be loved by avid readers and those not-so-avid readers at home. I highly recommend this book for young kids looking to have some fun.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2012

    Willowsong

    Cool but make longer

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Tay

    Awesome

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    By katelyn

    I have read this book in the past and i say that this book is great for 2nd through 5th graders it great for adventure readers and for entertainment readers you and many others would enjoy this book =)

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Cool books to read to kids.

    This is a cool book for kids to read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Love

    Awesome author

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    This book is awesome!

    I loved this book! It was well written. Way to go Beverly Cleary!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Awesome

    I love the . I read it in 4th grade. U well love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    Highly recommended

    Ralph is sometimes nice and sometimes mean just like most kids in my class. This is the first year this book was used for third grade. I think other classes after mine would like it. I hope they keep it for reading comprehension.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    1st Grade perspective

    It was the coolest book I ever read. It was funny and challenging. I think people would like to read it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Highly recommended

    My kids loved this book and they were excited when I got it for their kids to read. A fun book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    Great book

    This book was about mouse named Ralph who goes on motercycle. This was agreat book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2013

    Has become a family favorite and a classic story in our home library.

    I've read this to my five year old who really enjoys this highly imaginative story - and so do we. Its another great piece of work from Beverly Cleary, an author with the true ability of seeing the world through a child's eyes, and the vision to bring it to life in words.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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