The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Written by Beverly Cleary; Illustrated by Louis Darling)
December 1, 2008 in Cause and Effect, Chapter Books, Cleary, Beverly, Creative Writing activities, Darling, Louis, Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections Tags: Beverly Cleary, Chapter Books, Louis Darling, Ralph S. Mouse, reading skills, teaching cause and effect, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, writing activities
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, email@example.com
Chapter book, contemporary (but written in the 1960s) fantasy
Young boy and Ralph the mouse as main characters
Rating: One of my favorite Beverly Cleary books. Ralph is absolutely endearing, and kids love him!
Short, short summary: Ralph lives in a mousehole in Room 215 in Mountain View Inn. When Keith and his parents become tenants there, Ralph is excited that Keith may leave some food around. But then Ralph sees even something more wonderful than food–a little, toy motorcycle. Ralph craves action and investigates the motorcycle when the room is empty. Unfortunately, he winds up in the trash can. Keith rescues Ralph, and they talk to each other. Ralph winds up riding the motorcycle around Mountain View Inn and has many exciting adventures for a little mouse. When Keith gets a fever, Ralph wants to help his new friend. And he knows just how to do it!
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Ralph and Keith develop a great friendship. This is a book you can use to discuss with your students or your child what makes a good friend. What are the characteristics of a good friend? Ask students to write in their journals about why Ralph and Keith have a good friendship. Ask them to make a personal connection with the book by comparing and contrasting one of their friendships with Ralph and Keith’s.
2. Cause and effect are easy to teach with The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Ask students to find several cause and effect pairs in the story. They can write the pairs in their reading journals, such as–Cause: Keith leaves out his motorcycle. Effect: Ralph climbs up to look at it. You can also ask students to find the effects of several causes you list for them. You can list causes such as: Cause: The telephone rings. Effect???? and so on.
3. Beverly Cleary wrote a sequel to this book, and your students can, too. At the end of the story, Ralph keeps his motorcycle. Ask your students to write a story about another adventure with Ralph and his motorcycle. Will your students be in the story, will they make up characters, or will they use the characters from the story? When your students are finished with their sequels, and if they are interested, you can let students know about the sequel–Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary.
If you have used this book with your students or with your children, please leave a comment here and let us know how it went. For more ideas about teaching reading, please check out Sound It Out.
If you have a suggestion of a book for me to read and review, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here.
photo by aturkus at www.flickr.com