The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Review and Activities for the book The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Title: The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Author: Beverly Cleary
Age Range: 8-12 years
Grade Level: 3-7

The Book

The Mouse and the Motorcycle was written by Beverly Cleary in 1965. Ralph is a restless mouse yearning for adventure. He lives with his family in California at the Mountain View Inn. A boy named Keith comes to stay for a few days with his parents and brings along with him the finest toy motorcycle Ralph has ever laid eyes on. After rescuing Ralph from a fall into the wastebasket, Keith allows Ralph to ride the motorcycle around the motel. Ralph has plenty of adventures exploring and even ends up risking his own life to find something Keith desperately needs.


My Thoughts

I’ve read many Beverly Cleary books over the years, including the Ramona series, Ribsy, and Socks. These Ralph Mouse books are full of adventure and fun.  Ralph finds himself in all sorts of trouble throughout the book, which makes readers want to keep reading to the end. I found this to be an amusing and lighthearted read.  My 8 year old loved it!

There are several opportunities to discuss character traits in this story: obedience (or lack of it!), kindness and forgiveness that Keith shows toward Ralph, being adventurous, resourcefulness, and Ralph’s bravery in the last chapters. Although Ralph is certainly disobedient on several occasions, this provides a wonderful opportunity to engage in cause and effect conversations with your child.  Check out the teaching resources below for more ideas.

Beverly Cleary follows up this book with Runaway Ralph, and Ralph S. Mouse.


Resources for Teaching



 

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Review and Activities for the the book Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Title: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Author: Robert C. O’Brien
Age Range: 8-12
Grade Level: 4-6

The Book

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was written by Robert C. O’Brien and published in 1970. It was a winner of the 1972 Newberry Medal.  Mrs. Frisby is a widowed mouse living on the Fitzgibbon farm with her four children.  Spring is approaching quickly which means she and her children must move from their winter home before the fields are plowed. Her youngest son, Timothy, becomes sick with pneumonia and cannot make the move until he is well.  Mrs. Frisby seeks a solution in an unlikely place, finding that the unusually intelligent rats living in the nearby rosebush have quite a history and are willing to help.


My Thoughts

I think that I had seen this movie as a child before ever reading the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, as it was filled with intrigue and suspense. A number of important character traits can be found throughout the story: Mrs. Frisby is determined and has great perseverance in finding a solution to her problem. Her kindness also contributes to her success, as it is ultimately this trait which leads her to the rats of NIMH.  She also must trust the rats, despite her initial misgivings. The rats themselves are unusual, displaying high intelligence which is due to time spent in a lab, subjected to a variety of tests, as well as injections. The topic of animal testing is not presented in great depth, though you may want to be prepared to answer questions children may have regarding this sensitive subject.  (Here is a link that may help get the conversation started.)

This is a book where there is a story within the story: we are told the tale of the rats in the midst of Mrs. Frisby’s dilemma. Overall, a wonderful read for kids who like a lot of action!

There are two additional books in the series, written by Jane Leslie Conly. The first, published in 1988, Rasco and the Rats of NIMH, and the second, published in 1991, titled R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH.

Resources for Teaching