Ralph Mouse Collection: The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, Ralph S. Mouse (Cleary Reissue Series)by Beverly Cleary, Paul O. Zelinsky, Louis Darling, Paul O. Zelinsky
All your favorite Ralph Mouse tales in one boxed set -- just in time for the holiday season!
Read an Excerpt
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
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
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...
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...
From the Diary of Leigh Botts
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.
Meet the Author
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.
- Carmel, California
- Date of Birth:
- April 12, 1916
- Place of Birth:
- McMinnville, Oregon
- B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939
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