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The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  64,998 Ratings  ·  1,488 Reviews
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.
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 1st 1965 by HarperCollins (first published 1965)
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Debbie Matt is actually the caretaker. Keith (the boy) is probably 8 or 9 years old.

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I first read 'The Mouse and the Motorcycle' as a young child. It is one of the books that stands out in my memory. It sparked a love of reading that has stayed with me for a lifetime.

The local library, where my grandmother would take me for story time when I was a little girl, had very high ceilings with crown molding all the way around the top. Only, this library left about a one foot gap between the ceiling and the top of the molding, resulting in a small ledge/shelf, high up on the wall and
Jason Koivu
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Mouse and the Motorcycle BLEW MY MIND when I was about 8 years old. I remember thinking, "It's a mouse, okay. And he's riding...a motorcycle?!!"

My dad's a mechanic, so naturally I worried about things like access to the appropriate-sized tools and where the mouse would find parts for the bike, I mean, it's soooo small! What if he blew a plug? Is NAPA even going to have that?! And if it's foreign-made, well then that's a whole other pandora's box of problems right there!
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This, the underrated, overlooked and oft forgotten prequel to Runaway Ralph and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence, tells the tail (yes I did!) of one Ralph S. Mouse, a grease monkey of an entirely different genus (Mus). Praised in France for its controversial use of alcoholism in mice and free-spirited sexuality, the book received numerous awards including the prestigious Caldecott Medal. It was later the basis for the film Motorcycle Diaries, for which it was rumored method actor Gael G ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
♥ A childhood book that I just love to no end ♥
Brian Harticat
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well this book took me a while to read, it's heavy reading, but I did get through it. This mouse get's a rippin' bike and proceeds to kick ass. Lot's of foolin' around. I do think he needed some sort of biker babe for the back seat, and maybe have some ties to a biker gang of woverines. The mouse didn't have any cool tatoos either. All in all a pretty good read.
Rebecca McNutt
This is a creative albeit bizarre little novel, a funny story with lovable characters and an interesting premise.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this aloud to the kids and they loved it. Remember just loving this when I was a kid as well . . . but wasn't as interested as an adult as I thought I would be (hence only 4 stars). Do love the quaint nature of the story and characters and wish more current chapter books for kids were written like this instead of featuring street smart kids from dysfunctional families. Childhood should be a time to be immersed books like Charlotte's Web, Homer Price, and Mouse and the Motorcycle. Loved that ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: both of my brother
I thought that it was nice of Keith to let Ralph have his motorcycle because it was his favorite toy.

I loved the helmet Keith made for Ralph out of a ping pong ball. Ralph loved his crash helmet.

This book reminds me of Stuart Little.

Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No telling how many time I read this book when I was a kid. One of the top ten of my childhood!
Oliver Radtke
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary. The book is about a young mouse named Ralph. He lives in a hotel with his mother and two younger siblings. He wants to explore the hotel more but his mother will not let him. Then one day a boy name Keith checks in at the hotel and both of their lives change. Both Keith and Ralph can both understand each other and Keith lets Ralph drive his mouse sized motorcycle. They both help each other throughout the book and they really get t ...more
Zach Costello
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Mouse and the Motorcycle" is a book about a mouse named Ralph who lives in a hotel. One day a family come into the apartment where Ralph lives. One boy has some toy cars and one is a motorcycle. When the family is gone Ralph decides to take the motorcycle for a ride. Ralph ends up falling into a wastebasket. When the family comes back the child finds Ralph. The two are able to talk to each other, and they become friends. Later in the book Ralph loses the motorcylce and the child becomes ill ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
This is a good book for kids and parents too. It engages kids imagination. My son liked the motorcycle and the adventure. We read this book together althought mostly he read it to me and it had good vocabulary and a pretty good pace. He is a first grader but reads at third grade level and it was a good level for him. We are both ready to read the second one. He hopes the second one is similar to this one.
Tony DiTerlizzi
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mouse buddy + toy motorcycle = Awesome!
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ezra-s-books
Ezra's review "I really like the book because it was pretty cool that a mouse got to ride a motorcycle. And then in the end actually get to keep one. My favorite part was probably when he didn't know what a peanut butter sandwich was. I like Ralph a lot. He's my favorite character. It was medium hard. 7 or 8 year olds should read this because a mouse gets to ride a motorcycle and I think that's pretty cool."
Brandon Loehrke
“The Mouse and the Motorcycle” was a fun book to read. This book is about a mouse named Ralph who lives in room 215 of an old hotel. Ralph is growing up and doesn't have the trust he thinks he deserves. A boy’s toy motorcycle changed just about everything in Ralph’s life. Ralph and the boy became friends. Ralph had to prove to the boy that they can be friends again and make everything better before the boy leaves the hotel.

The book is told in the third person narrative. This story is about Ralp
Ralph Pulner
My girlfriend works in a used bookstore. One of the primary duties of her work requires the buying of books brought in. Her boss is an ex computer programmer and wrote a nifty program/algorithm that cross references book purchasing on Amazon and E Bay. If the book in question is ranked over a certain number then they will purchase said book(s).

My girlfriend has first cracks at all books that come into the store. She has a long list from me of things I'm looking for. Regardless of what the progr
Jose Galvan
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children, parents,
This is a Beverly Cleary book so you know it is excellent, but this book is in a whole other league from Ramona and Henry because of the fantasy aspect. We have ALL played with cars/motorcycles/etc at one point in our lives, and haven't we all daydreamed of the vehicles magically propelling themselves? With a passenger?
Also typing this it just occurred to me that had Ralph met up with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, perhaps the outcome would have been different? Then again the Rats of NIMH ha
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review from an 8-year-old:

"This book is about a mouse and a motorcycle that he rides when he goes out of a mouse-hole and onto a dresser. He thinks to himself, 'I bet I can ride that,' and later on he can.
The motorcycle belongs to a boy named Keith. Keith and the mouse (Ralph) become friends. It is interesting because Keith and the mice can talk to each other but no one else can understand mouse talk.
Ralph has many adventures. My favorite part is when Ralph has to get a pill for Keith, who get
This is the first chapter book that I read aloud to my oldest son.

He absolutely loved it!

I had read this as a child but it had been so long all I remembered was that Ralph rode the motorcycle and that he had a cute little helmet. I'm glad that such a sweet little story was Logan's introduction to chapter books. I mean you can't really go wrong with Beverly Cleary. I plan for us to take on some Roald Dahl next so he is going to have high expectations of books when he starts reading anything lon
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, childrens
A childhood favorite revisited. It's a simple story, free of extraneous threads and unneeded distractions, and portrays its characters in small scenes that give the reader enough space to let his imagination wander. Maybe I'm a cynic, but a tale this direct would probably have a hard time being published now.
This book was on my wishlist - how could I resist? My friend saw it and gifted it to me for my birthday. What an adorable mouse Ralph is! I can understand why this story has captivated generations of children. I am looking forward to reading the next two in the adventures of Ralph. Here is where a writer knows how to spin a character -in Ralph, we have at once a naughty, curious, yet fun-loving, adventurous and caring mouse.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children starting to read chapter books
I vaguely remember reading this as a preteen. I can't wait to read it again with our girls!

July 2013 update: We finally got around to this one. I borrowed an audio CD of this book, with William Roberts as the narrator.

Unfortunately, the story seemed a bit old fashioned and dragged in places - our youngest complained that she was bored with the book about halfway through (so did my husband), but we listened on and she seemed to be more engaged in the story toward the end.

The CD was a bit garble
Dec 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this to my class. Ralph is great. He's an underestimated juvenile mouse who gives a heroic and inspirational (for 4th graders, age or mentality) performance. It was fun to read it to the class because I could show off some motorcycle knowledge and make pbb, ppb, pbb sounds when Ralph rode around.
One drawback: most of the kids had seen the movie version so they already know what was going to happen. Damn Hollywood, stealing all the fun.
Jen Russell
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect read for the boys! The loved it! A little bit of excitement/ adventure with short, somewhat "dangerous" events. A delightful read. Requesting the rest of the series from the library. An added bonus, because the mouse risks his life to find an asprin for friend, a human boy, when he has a fever, Nate now believes in the importance of taking medicine to help lower his fever:)
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-5-star-books
I love this children's classic by Beverly Cleary. It's got a mouse and a motorcycle, what's not to like? I love the interaction between Keith and Ralph as two kindred souls found in two different species. This story shows true friendship and I loved watching Ralph "grow up" in the story. I'm passing this one on to my students.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far so good. I think that Samuel is motivated by the fact that there is a movie to watch about this book once we finish it. He is able to retell parts of this story about how the mouse can make the motorcycle go faster depending on him speeding up the noise he makes.

I never read the book but have fond memories of the movie. It is great to see Samuel's excitement about the story and can verify that he is listening and retaining what he is hearing. I picked out a different book to read to Samue
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a cute little story. My son loved having me read it to him. 💜
Drew Graham
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: me
Ralph lives an average life -- he scurries around the baseboards of the hotel where he and his family live, scraping for food and dodging the housekeeper and guests. But when a boy with a fabulous mouse-sized motorcycle visits the hotel Ralph's ordinary mouse life is about to change forever.

I read this as a kid, but as part of some readings commemorating Beverly Cleary's 100th birthday (wow!) it was time for a reread. I feel like this is one of those books that gets pretty much everything just a
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read many other Beverly Cleary books in my childhood, but I never got around to this one. My eight-year-old was getting bored with the books on his bookshelf and wanted something new for this month's reading challenge, so we looked at his much older brother's old books on his shelves, and this one popped out and grabbed his attention.

We ended up reading more than a chapter a night together because it is such a great story, and we didn't want to stop. Tonight, I let him stay up way past his be
É O'Conghaile
Let's start with the stuff I didn't like. I dislike the repeated comments about animal death. It is too blatant to be understandable or appear beneficial to carefulness. Too insensitive to make sense. A worrying mother whom describes graphic death to her offspring in such an age-unfriendly manner (as if such an age-justification exists), while simultaneously undermining the kids' sense of growing up and independence. The essence of such behaviour is one of psychological abuse and the depressing ...more
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What a cute book 12 45 Nov 13, 2015 02:01PM  
Why does Ralph like his motorcycle 2 12 Nov 13, 2015 01:58PM  
  • Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary: Teacher Guide (Novel Units)
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At
More about Beverly Cleary...

Other Books in the Series

Ralph S. Mouse (3 books)
  • Runaway Ralph (Ralph S. Mouse, #2)
  • Ralph S. Mouse (Ralph S. Mouse, #3)
“Neither the mouse nor the boy was the least bit surprised that each could understand the other. Two creatures who shared a love for motorcycles naturally spoke the same language.” 22 likes
“Ralph really felt sorry for the boy, hampered as he was by his youth and his mother.” 3 likes
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