Runaway Ralph

Runaway Ralph

4.2 37
by Beverly Cleary, William Roberts

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Even mice get away from their pestering siblings. Ralph is no different. And he sure has had it with his mother telling him what to do all the time. But is he prepared for the vast and scary world he'll find once he takes to the road on his motorcycle? See more details below


Even mice get away from their pestering siblings. Ralph is no different. And he sure has had it with his mother telling him what to do all the time. But is he prepared for the vast and scary world he'll find once he takes to the road on his motorcycle?

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
The same combination of simplicity, realistic detail, ingenuity, and humor that made The Mouse and the Motorcycle a resounding success.
Children's Literature
Adventure-seeking Ralph, the motorcycle riding mouse introduced to readers in The Mouse and the Motorcycle, decides to break free from his home at the Mountain View Inn and seek his fortune at a summer camp down the road. Ralph is tired of family obligations and scrounging crumbs. But he doesn't foresee being pursued by a mean old cat and being put in a cage. Life in a cage gives Ralph a new perspective. Suddenly, he misses his family and the creature comforts of the Mountain View Inn. Ralph discovers that he is braver and more resourceful than he thought he was. Readers will find a protagonist to cheer for in this engaging story. And many will identify with Ralph's impatience to do grown up things and his curiosity about the world. 2000 (orig. 1970), HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, $5.95. Ages 7 to 11. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati AGES: 7 8 9 10 11

Product Details

Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date:
Mouse and the Motorcycle Series
Edition description:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ralph Hears 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 bad 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 milesthat 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. Ralph clapped Ralph Hears a Distant Bugle his paws over his ears. The clock grumbled and groaned and managed to strike the hour. Nine o'clock! The time almost had come.The stroke of nine was followed by the slow sad notes of music that lingered -and died mysteriously in the distance every night at thishistime.

"Did You hear that?" the man asked the boy. "It was the bugle at camp playing taps."

So that's what that music is, thought Ralph, who had puzzled over those notes all summer.

When the boy did not answer, his mother said, "Come on, Garf, cheer. up. You're going to have a lot of fun at camp."

"Maybe," answered Garf, "but I doubt it."

The father looked annoyed. "You won't have any fun if you take that attitude," he said, and went to the desk to inquire about a room with an extra cot for the night.

Ralph could not understand the boy's behavior. He had often heard other young guests wearing the same kind of white T-shirt speak of a place called camp, but unlike this boy they always sounded eager and excited about going there. Ralph did not know exactly what a camp was, but since medium-sized boys and girls went there, he thought it must be a place where people ate peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

The desk clerk summoned old Matt, the elderly bellboy and hotel handyman, to show the family to their room. As Matt picked up their suitcases and led the way to the elevator, he said to Garf, "Well, young fellow, what are you going to have for breakfast tomorrow? Apple pie or chocolate cake?"' Matt, who was not always popular with parents, was always liked by children.

The boy smiled faintly at. Matt's joke as he followed the old man into the elevator. What that boy needs is a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, thought Ralph.

When Matt returned to the lobby, Ralph watched him go out -onto the hotel porch where he stood for, a few minutes among the empty rocking chairs for his nightly look at the Ralph Hears a Distant Bugle

stars before he retired for the night. The night clerk, a college student hired for the summer, came on duty and settled down on a couch to read a thick book. Ralph's time almost had come. Sure enough, the clerk read a few pages, and then lay down on the couch with the book facedown -on his chest and closed his eyes.

Ralph was free for the night! He darted under the television set where he had-hidden his motorcycle and the crash helmet that Keith had made from half a pingpong ball lined with thistledown. He already had polished the chrome on his motorcycle by licking his paws and rubbing them over the dull spots. Now heset his crash 'helmet on his head, snapped the rubber bind under his chin to hold it in place, and taking care to keep his tail out of the spokes mounted his motorcycle. Next he inhaled deeply andwith a Pb-pb-b-b-bsound, the only sound that will make a miniature motor-cycle go, sped out from under the television set and across the carpet.

Pb-pb-b-b-b! Ralph rode across the lobby...

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