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Ralph S. Mouse Chapter Books

Some literary heroes face insurmountable challenges and achieve great feats. Some heroes inspire us with their dedication and bravery. Others have big dreams. And some heroes are mice that ride motorcycles.

If you have a soft spot for rodents in literature (and don’t we all?), you’ll definitely want to check out Beverly Cleary’s classic Ralph S. Mouse series.

Who Is Ralph S. Mouse?

book cover of Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary

To state the obvious, Ralph is a mouse, but he’s a special mouse who is able to speak and be understood by some humans (usually young boys with an affinity for mice). Ralph longs for adventure and independence, but his opportunities are limited by his circumstances–that is, until a toy motorcycle zooms into his life and expands his horizons.

Naturally, Ralph’s cautious mother worries constantly about her daredevil son, and usually for good reason. Throughout the three-book series, Ralph manages to escape from one close call after another, almost always with his precious motorcycle in tow.

Want to read more? Take our free Ralph S. Mouse Checklist to your local library!

About the Author and Series

You may be most familiar with Beverly Cleary‘s books about the irrepressible Ramona Quimby, but the Newbery Award–winning author has also entertained generations of children with her books about other memorable characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and, of course, her smallest protagonist: Ralph S. Mouse.

Over the course of Beverly Cleary’s iconic career as a children’s author, her books have sold more than 90 million copies, she’s won countless honors and awards, and she has earned the love and admiration of children all over the world. She possesses an unparalleled ability to depict genuine feelings and create amusing situations, and—decades after publication—her books continue to stand the test of time.

Cleary is said to have written The Mouse and the Motorcycle specifically for her young son, Malcolm, who was a reluctant reader. Malcolm had a strong interest in motorcycles, so Cleary used that interest as a springboard for the story. A 2012 poll by the School Library Journal ranked The Mouse and the Motorcycle as #89 on a list of the Top 100 Chapter Books.

About the Books

book cover of The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

In The Mouse and the Motorcycle, we meet Ralph, a young mouse living in the walls of the Mountain View Inn. The day-to-day monotony of Ralph’s hum-drum life is punctuated by the coming and going of hotel guests and the variety of crumbs they leave behind. But the arrival of a boy named Keith transforms Ralph’s ordinary world into a fast-paced whirlwind of excitement—thanks to a marvelous toy motorcycle.

Ralph roars back into the spotlight in Runaway Ralph and immediately makes a bold decision: to run away. As Ralph explains, “I don’t want to grow up to be another crumb-scrounging mouse. I want adventure and excitement, and I’m going to ride off on my motorcycle and find it.” A visit to a summer camp amply fulfills Ralph’s desire for adventure—although not exactly in the way he had envisioned—and ultimately, Ralph discovers that there’s no place like home.

But Ralph doesn’t learn the lesson very well. In Ralph S. Mouse, Ralph and his motorcycle hit the road again, snatching yet another opportunity to move away from the Mountain View Inn. Ralph joyfully takes up residence at the Irwin J. Sneed Elementary School, but quickly discovers that life in the school has its downsides, too. The devastating loss of Ralph’s motorcycle threatens to pose an unhappy ending, but readers can always trust that Cleary will come through, and poor Ralph gets a happy ending after all.

The Ralph S. Mouse Series at a Glance

book cover of Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary

Author: Beverly Cleary
Genre: children’s fiction, humor
Interests: animals, adventure, friendship, childhood mischief, growing up
Suggested age range: 8 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 3 books, 176 to 191 pages

Ralph S. Mouse Series Checklist

thumbnail of Ralph S. Mouse Library List

Do your kids need extra encouragement to read?

Take our Ralph S. Mouse Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off the books as he reads them.

Looking for more great chapter books? We’ve got you covered!

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Hollie

says:

We are reading Runaway Ralph and the kids just love it! My eldest student has struggled to read, which is why I’m so interested in AAR. Definitely going to print off he list for our next trip to the library:)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hollie,
Thank you for letting us know your kids are loving Runaway Ralph!

Lynn Schofield

says:

My children enjoy these and many other Beverly Cleary books. Caution: I did have a child, who, when around the same age as Ramona in _Ramona the Pest_ (5 or so), and after listening to the book read aloud, decided to behave like Ramona, taking a bite out of every apple and coloring in books with a purple crayon. So I recommend saving those for when the child is the age of Beezus, rather than Ramona. Otherwise, we love Beverly Cleary.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lynn,
Oh, my! That is not a reaction to Ramona the Pest that I would want in any household! Thank you for this warning.

Heather

says:

I think my 2nd grader would love this series. Must check it out!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
Ralph S. Mouse is a well-loved character. I hope your 2nd-grader enjoys listening to these books as much as my children have!

Angela Martin

says:

Boys would love this.

Andrea

says:

My son devoured these books when he got them for Christmas last year. They were just as awesome as I remembered them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
Isn’t it awesome when our kids “devour” books?!

Amity

says:

These were my favorites. My 2nd and 3rd grade teacher read them to our class!!!

Jenn

says:

My kids of all ages love these books!

Annie Bleuer

says:

I loved these books as a kid!

Ashley

says:

I’ve been looking for a new read-aloud for my kids since we just finished Charlotte’s web. We will have to give these a try!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
I think your kids will love Ralph!

Sarah

says:

I remember reading and loving this series as a child, and am happy to have my kiddos get into it too!

Carla

says:

My dyslexic don has listened to this story over fifty times. Great recommendation.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carla,
Wow! Fifty times?! I thought my son was unusual for listening to The Hobbit five or six times over the years.

Emily

says:

Would love to read these to my kids!

Kaaren

says:

Beverly Cleary’s books were my childhood favorites.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kaaren,
Beverly Cleary wrote such timeless books. Three generations of my family have enjoyed her stories as children, and I don’t see that trend ending with the next generation or after.

Megan R.

says:

After a rather traumatic experience reading Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, I will consult your reviews for the best read aloud books for kids. I love to read chapter books to my young ones, but it’s rather hard to find good ones. Henry Huggins is our favorite so far, I have boys.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Megan,
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang is a bit much for young ones. It’s surprisingly unlike the movie.

Anyway, here is the link to all the chapter book reviews we have done and this gets updated each month as we add a new review. Take a look at the “girl” books as well as the ones that seem more boyish. A great story is a great story, regardless of the gender of the main character. My boys have loved many “girly” books, just because the story was so good.

Jess

says:

I’ll be putting this on our read aloud list. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jess,
I hope your family enjoys this as much as my family has!

MELISSA Bills

says:

This was a favorite when I was a kid!

Stacie

says:

What reading levels are these books recommended for?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stacie,
The Lexile measure of the first book, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, is 860L. Typically, children are ready for that level of independent reading somewhere between 4th and 6th grades.

However, these books lend themselves to being wonderful books to read aloud to much younger children as well!

Melissa Orruego

says:

About what grade level are these?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
The Lexile measure of the first book, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, is 860L. Typically, children are ready for that level of independent reading somewhere between 4th and 6th grades.

However, these books lend themselves to being wonderful books to read aloud to much younger children as well!

Jill

says:

Ralph S. Mouse was one of the first chapter books that my son and I read together! He still talks about it. 😊

Jessica Walters

says:

We read this over the summer and loved it.

Heather

says:

I can’t wait to share these books with my girls when they get a bit older

Amanda

says:

We love Ralph s mouse!

Teri

says:

What books can anyone recommend for a child in the middle of AAR level 2? He is flying through the basic readers and I’d like to get him beginning chapter books!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Teri,
Here are some beginning chapter book ideas that others have told us they used with All About Reading 2. We have not looked at all of these to make sure there are no new patterns introduced. I know some will have a few new patterns, so pre-read the materials if you have a struggling learner who might need more help.

Sonlight Curriculum’s Grade 1 and Grade 2 Readers (many of these will be available at a good library). The Grade 2 Readers have a number of wonderful beginning chapter books in it. However, save The Sword in the Tree until your child has read quite a few of the others easily, as it is by far the most difficult in the set.

My Father’s Dragon trilogy. One mom said this was mostly decodable, some mastered words, some new words they’ll need help with after AAR 2. “When we came across a pattern that they didn’t know yet, I would give them the sound for that phonogram and then let them see if they could segment and blend the word. If not, I segmented to see if they could blend. Or, if I sensed they were near frustration, sometimes I just said the word so they could keep going.”

High Noon Books Sound Out Chapter Books

The McGuffey Readers were used for years from the mid-1800′s into the early 1900′s to teach reading. They are available online for free in the public domain. http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/m#a5671

Keep working through All About Reading. Many children start devouring chapter books in AAR 3.

Patsy Foy

says:

I remember reading these books as a kid. I completely forgot about these. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Patsy,
We’re happy to remind you of books you enjoyed as a kid so you can now share them with your kids!

Jen

says:

What is the reading level of these books?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
The Lexile measure of the first book, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, is 860L. Typically children are ready for that level of independent reading somewhere between 4th and 6th grades.

Sandi L.

says:

What level of AAR should be able to read this series on their own?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sandi,
It really depends on the student. Some students will be able to read The Mouse and the Motorcycle while in All About Reading 3, and have great success with it. However, some children will find it a stretch when they are in All About Reading 4, as the chapter length and number of words on a page can be intimidating.

If you think your student could read it, but he seems intimidated, you could try reading the first chapter or two aloud and then ask him or her to read the next one. Or you could buddy read throughout the book, so he isn’t responsible for all of it. However, don’t push your student into chapter books if he is resistant. Keep working steadily on reading and continue to read aloud to him regularly, and he will get to the point where books like Ralph S. Mouse are a joy to read!

Sandi L

says:

Thanks!!

Lisa B

says:

These books are SO much fun! Thanks for providing suggestions for reluctant readers, both boys and girls!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
These books ARE so much fun!

Jennifer Hall

says:

These books look great!

Oriya

says:

Hi Marie, my son wish to start as a book reviewer, but my local organisations is asking him to review books that has been published in last one year. Need your suggestion.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oriya,
I’m sorry, we don’t have any chapter book reviews of books published within the last year. However, here is a link to many children’s books published in 2017 with reviews that give parents information about educational content and possible violence, language, or other questionable content.

Jenn S

says:

We love these books!!!

Monica

says:

These are great little books. I had forgotten about these. Thanks for sharing

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We’re pleased we could remind you about these books, Monica!

Sue Goldberg

says:

This would be a good series for a student I am tutoring. Glad I found it!

Alison O

says:

My son and I are reading Ralph S Mouse right now! He usually doesn’t love chapter books but he’s loving this one! :)
I love sharing books I enjoyed as a child with my own children!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alison,
The Mouse and the Motorcycle has been the turning point for reading chapter books for three of my children now! It’s such a great series, yet not too difficult!

Brandi D. Cotton

says:

I almost forgot about Ralph S. Mouse. These books are so much fun. I need to introduce to my crew asap.

Jessica Robinson

says:

We’ve been reading so much lately. He has a few gaps and I would love to win the AAS to help guide me through the process. What we’ve been doing isn’t working, but the price is a little steep for my budget right now!

Donna Casady

says:

Makes me imagine the life of the mouse I found in my house last week.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Donna,
Eek! I don’t know if I should recommend getting a cat, or a motorcycle! :D

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