Ralph Mouse Collection: The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, Ralph S. Mouse (Cleary Reissue Series)

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Overview

All your favorite Ralph Mouse tales in one boxed set — just in time for the holiday season!

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Overview

All your favorite Ralph Mouse tales in one boxed set — just in time for the holiday season!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A motorcycle riding mouse named Ralph will capture children's hearts and imaginations in the three books that make up this collection. Readers first meet young Ralph in his home at the Mountain View Inn, where he dreams of adventures beyond his tiny mouse hole. Ralph meets a young hotel guest named Keith with a toy motorcycle and exciting things start happening. Children who get attached to Ralph in the first book will be happy to follow him as he seeks adventures at camp and at school in the author's two follow-up books. Ralph is, at turns, resourceful and daring, curious and scared, and friendly but cautious; much like many of the readers of his tales. This collection, which includes The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, and Ralph S. Mouse, takes readers into a fantastic world, where it is easy to believe that an enterprising mouse can really ride a motorcycle. 2002, HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, $17.85. Ages 7 to 11. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati AGES: 7 8 9 10 11
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064410045
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Series: Mouse and the Motorcycle Series
  • Edition description: Boxed Set
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 35,382
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.78 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.

Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.

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

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

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 he 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.

Ralph S. Mouse

Chapter One
A Dark and Snowy Night

Night winds, moaning around corners and whistling through cracks, dashed snow against the windows of the Mountain View Inn. Inside,, afire crackled in the stone fireplace. The grandfather clock as old and tired as the inn itself, marked the passing of time with a slow tick ... tock ... that seemed to say, "Wait ... ing, wait ... ing."

Everyone in the lobby was waiting — the desk clerk, the handyman, old Matt, who also carried guests' luggage to their rooms, Ryan Bramble, the son of the hotel's new housekeeper, and Ralph, the mouse who lived under the grandfather clock.

The desk clerk dozed, waiting for guests who did not arrive. Matt leaned against the wall to watch television while he waited for the desk clerk to close up for the night. Ryan, sitting on the floor to watch television, waited for his mother to tell him to go to bed because he had to go to school the next day. Ralph, crouched beside Ryan, waited for the adults to leave so he could bring out his mouse-sized motorcycle. Unfortunately, Ralph's little brothers, sisters, and cousins, hiding in the woodpile and behind the curtains, were also waiting.

On the television set, a sports car crashed into a truck, shot off a cliff, and burst into flames.

"Wow!" Without taking his eyes from the screen, Ryan said, "There's a boy at school named Brad Kirby...

Runaway Ralph

Chapter One
Ralph Rears a Distant Bugle

The small brown mouse named Ralph who was hiding under the grandfather clock did not have much longer to wait before he could ride his motorcycle. The clock had struck eight already, and then eight thirty.

Ralph was the only mouse in the Mountain View Inn, a run-down hotel in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, who owned a motorcycle. It was a mouse-sized red motorcycle, a present from a boy named Keith who had been a guest in Room 215 over the Fourth of July weekend. Ralph was proud of his motorcycle, but his brothers and sisters said he was selfish.

I am not," said Ralph. "Keith gave the motorcycle to me."

That evening, while Ralph waited under the clock and watched the television set across the lobby, a man and a woman followed by a medium-sized boy walked into the hotel. They had the rumpled look of people who had driven many miles that day. The boy was wearing jeans, cowboy boots, and a white T-shirt with the words Happy Acres Camp stenciled across the front.

Ralph observed the boy with interest. He was the right kind of boy, a boy sure to like peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Since the day Keith had left the hotel, Ralph had longed for crumbs of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.

A grating, grinding noise came from the works of the grandfather clock...

Strider

Chapter One
From the Diary of Leigh Botts

June 6

This afternoon, as Mom was leaving for work at the hospital, she said for the millionth time, "Leigh, please clean up your room. There is no excuse for such a mess. And don't forget the junk under your bed."

I said, "Mom, you're nagging. I'm going to Barry's house."

She plunked a kiss on my hair and said, "Room first, Barry second. Besides, where would the world be without nagging mothers? Everything would go to pieces."

Maybe she's right. Things are pretty deep in my room. I hauled all the rubbish out from under my bed. In the midst of all the old socks, school papers, models that have fallen apart, paperback books (one library book — oops!), and other stuff, I found the diary I kept a couple of years ago when I was a mixed-up kid in the sixth grade. Mom had just divorced Dad and moved with me to Pacific Grove, better known as P.G., where I was a new kid in school, which wasn't easy.

I sat there on the floor reading my diary, and when I finished, I continued to sit there. What had changed?

Dad still drives his tractor-trailer rig, lives mostly on the road, and is late with his child support checks or forgets them. I don't often see him, but I don't get as angry about this as I did in the sixth grade...

Ralph Mouse Collection. 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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    Adults Will Love It Too!

    I was an adult reading this for the first time to my children as well as myself. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Cleary is one of few writers with a real imagination. Every child should hear/read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Chapter book for adventurers

    Perfect for a little adventurer with a big imagination. I bought this for my 6 year and he is loving it. I think it will be one he can go back to again and again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    For older kids

    I enjoyed this is serious as a kid, but my preschooler did not. We actually stopped reading these books because he did not care for Ralph. I still think it is a great series, just maybe for older kids.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Love these books my husband is cute and reads them to me for fun

    Love these books my husband is cute and reads them to me for fun, we cant  wait to have a baby to read them these books also great writer you will lovethem tooooooo

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Puechase for Granddaughter in private school

    My Grabddaughter is in a private school. She needed 3 Accelerate Reader points before the end of the grading period. She, her Mother and I were in the Northwoods Barnes and Nible in San Antonio to choose books for her to read. I saw the collection of Beverly books, and remembered that I had always liked them. We checked the level of the books in the accelerated Reader and they were above her grade level, We purchased the book set . She took them home and read them and passed the tests on them before the end of the grading period. It is very obvious that she also enjoyed the books. She and I would recommend them to any elementary student.

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    Posted October 6, 2009

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