Book Nook: The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary

I’ve chosen to read several books this year that my wife remembers from her childhood – books I’d never read before, but I felt like I should at least read now since my wife enjoyed them so much as a child.

On the other hand, I think I’ve only read two books this year that I remember from my childhood: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

This past weekend, I decided I would read The Mouse and the Motorcycle series, as it’s one that I remember fondly from my childhood.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle is the title of the first book, and it introduces you to Ralph – a mouse who lives in the slightly run-down Mountain View Inn. When a young boy named Keith stays in the inn with his parents, Ralph finds he has the ability not only to talk to Keith, but also to ride Keith’s toy motorcycle.

These books are great at demonstrating how children don’t really need to understand fully how things work – they just need an explanation.

How are Keith and Ralph able to talk to one another? – Because they both love motorcycles, obviously.

How can Ralph make the toy motorcycle move? – Everybody knows that you just have to say Pb-pb-b-b-b.

Why can’t girls understand Ralph? – Well, because they’re girls.

It doesn’t have to make sense.

And reading through the book, there’s quite a lot that doesn’t make sense.

Like, why do Keith and his parents have separate rooms in the inn?

How are we ok with Keith leaving his door cracked open all night?

Do these rooms not have locks? Matt, the bellboy, just opens Keith’s door early in the morning to let Ralph in.

How did an aspirin that had been discarded downstairs, found by a mouse, and rolled across the floor manage to help heal Keith rather than making him worse?

And lastly, if Ralph’s father is dead…but young Ralph has even younger siblings…is Uncle Lester really Ralph’s uncle?

Anyway, The Mouse and the Motorcycle is a classic that combines reality with just enough childhood fantasy to make it seem possible.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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