Second Reflections with Tidings from the Crew – the mouse and the motorcycle (Beverly Cleary)

Ahoy there mateys!  Though the first mate and I have very different reading tastes, occasionally we do recommend books to each other.  Books the first mate introduced to me included xom-b, holes, and the perks of being a wallflower.  Here I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again.

the mouse and the motorcycle (Beverly Cleary)

The first mate and I talked about the book and I enjoyed his viewpoint so I ordered asked him to write a review.  Please note that I write like I talk and the first mate writes like he thinks.  Hope ye enjoy!

From yer Captain:

I adored Beverly Cleary’s books when I was young.  The first mate and I were going on a short road trip and I had been wanting to read Ralph S. Mouse again so I downloaded the first book in the series to listen to in the car.  The first mate was not a huge reader of “children’s” books as a younger lad.  But I was surprised that he did know about Ralph and in fact loved him.  So we listened to this together.

One of the odd things about this series is that I know I have read all three Ralph S. Mouse stories.  But as time has progressed, I seemed to have merged all three of them together.  I couldn’t tell ye which was which.  After listening to the first book, I know that this was not me favourite.  Where was the car?

The biggest difference in listening to this was in how aggressive and forceful Ralph is.  He was pushy with the boy, Keith and kinda mean towards him.  I didn’t remember that!  It kinda made me sad as Keith was so sweet about lending Ralph the motorcycle.  In fact, I really didn’t remember much about Keith at all before I listened to this again.  Me older self was impressed with how kind, generous, and thoughtful Keith was.  Me younger self obviously thought he was irrelevant and only cared about Ralph.

That said, I did still find this to be a sweet and fun story.  Ralph does redeem himself in the end.  I do think the magic will still hold up for children.  I just didn’t expect to find fault with it as an adult.  It makes me wary to reread the rest of the series even though the plots of those next two are muddled beyond belief in me noggin’.

From the First Mate:

I don’t remember ever reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle as a child.  There’s this vague memory of it being one of the books that my third grade teacher read to the class (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe being the only one that I have a distinct memory of), but I cannot really recall.  The sequel Runaway Ralph – that was one of my favorite books as a child; I must have read it a dozen times after my mother purchased it for me from the Scholastic book fair one year.  In fact, I think I still have that well read copy in storage.
Listening to an audiobook version of The Mouse and the Motorcycle leaves me with an odd thought.  Ralph was written to be way more of a jerk than I remembered from Runaway Ralph.  I don’t know if that’s because he changes in the second book, or if it’s simply the differing ways a child and an adult evaluate characters and their actions.  In some ways, it appears that Ralph’s abrasive personality was meant to distinguish him from the rest of the mice and present him in a more daring and assertive way.
Ralph aside, the writing of the novel is very enjoyable.  Similar to the writing of Dorothy Gilman, the work is a series of set pieces that quietly build to a stress event that requires every bit of moxie the protagonist can muster to overcome.  The pursuit of Ralph’s final goal is suitably fun and the tension builds appropriately.
I’m unlikely to revisit the Ralph books again.  My good memories of Runaway Ralph are still intact (I can convince myself that he’s a very different character in the later book), and I just didn’t get enough out of The Mouse and the Motorcycle to ever want to read it again.  That said, I still would say that it’s a quality children’s book.

Captain’s Side note: Did ye know that Beverly Cleary be 102 years old!

Goodreads has this to say about the book:

“Pb-pb-b-b-b. Pb-pb-b-b-b.” With these magic vocables, Ralph the mouse revs up a dream come true–his very own motorcycle. Living in a knothole in a hotel room, young Ralph has seen plenty of families come and go, some more generous with their crumbs than others. But when young Keith and his parents check in to the hotel, Ralph gets his first chance to check out. He has always fantasized about venturing beyond the second floor, maybe even outside. Curiosity overcomes caution, and Ralph must have a go at Keith’s toy motorcycle. Soon, the headstrong mouse finds himself in a pickle, when all he wanted was to ride a motorcycle. Lucky for him, the boy understands how it is. When he discovers Ralph in his thwarted attempt to abscond with the toy bike, Keith generously encourages the rodent to ride. He even teaches him the simple trick of starting the motorcycle: “You have to make a noise… pb-pb-b-b-b.” The subsequent situations Ralph motors into require quick thinking and grownup-sized courage.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Beverly Cleary – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the mouse and the motorcycle – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

6 thoughts on “Second Reflections with Tidings from the Crew – the mouse and the motorcycle (Beverly Cleary)

  1. I also remember these books
    And borrowed them from you when you were a little girl
    Glad to see you have revisited them
    Have you read the book
    The Coddling of the American mind
    I highly recommend it
    Love Maman

    Liked by 1 person

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