The Mouse and the Motorcycle

by Beverly Cleary (1965) (Available in Spanish)

An Intro and Sweet Spot selection. 

Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle is recommended as an easier, first-time book for newer One School, One Book members. For schools looking for a book with easier prose – a book that will go down easier with less confident or less accomplished at-home readers – The Mouse and the Motorcycle is a recommended title.

Written by the prolific Beverly Cleary – way back in 1965 – it tells the story of a lonely boy in a hotel and the intrepid mouse who makes full use of his toy motorcycle. Hijinks, drama, adventures ensue – but they are as simply and easily accessible to students now as they have been the in the decades past. Some tricks and techniques never fail – and Beverly Cleary has mastered them.

Children will be stimulated as they identify with two protagonists – the boy, Keith, trying to entertain himself while stuck in a motel – and the mouse, Ralph, who negotiates his realm both simply and fantastically.

Cleary is also a master of simple, yet effectively stimulating prose – especially when she describes how Ralph, the mouse, feels emotionally when he is contemplating or using or missing his motorcycle. It is here that a seemingly simple or even inconsequential story actually works its literary magic – imparting its literary gifts and charms – seamlessly and inconspicuously.

One of the goals of One School, One Book is to impart and develop what we call a “culture of literacy” – an environment that supports and encourages the habit of reading regularly and independently. To that end, Read to Them encourages families to explore the sequels and other work of authors featured by schools via One School, One Book. For families seeking to explore and augment that ‘culture of literacy’ Beverly Cleary has a corpus of 41 works that families and students can explore long after enjoying the simple pleasures of The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

We recommend families interested in developing their shared reading habits start with the two sequels – Runaway Mouse (1970) and Ralph S. Mouse (1982).