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The Mouse and the Motorcycle



Last updated Monday, November 4, 2013

Author: Beverly Cleary
Illustrator: Tracy Dockray
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0688216986
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2013

Synopsis: Ralph the mouse ventures out from behind the piney knothole in the wall of his hotel-room home, scrambles up the telephone wire to the end table, and climbs aboard the toy motorcycle left there by a young guest. His thrill ride does not last long. The ringing telephone startles Ralph, and he and the motorcycle take a terrible fall - right to the bottom of a metal wastebasket. Luckily, Keith, the owner of the motorcycle, returns to find his toy. Keith rescues Ralph and teaches him how to ride the bike. Thus begins a great friendship and many awesome adventures. Once a mouse can ride a motorcyle ... almost anything can happen.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the cover what do you think the book is about?
•  Have you ever seen a mouse?
•  Do you know anyone who owns a motorcycle? Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?

Vocabulary:
•  critically - inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily
•  croquet (pg. 13) - a game in which players use wooden mallets to hit balls through a series of curved wires that are stuck into the ground
•  antimacassars (pg. 14) - a cover to protect the back or arms of a chair or for decoration
•  perplexed - completely baffled; very puzzled
•  scurry - to move hurriedly with short quick steps
•  quaint (pg. 14) - having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm
•  jauntily (pg. 23) - lively in manner or appearance
•  momentum (pg. 26) - the strength or force that something has when it is moving
•  incinerator (pg. 29) - a machine or container that is used for burning garbage, waste
•  remorseful (pg. 29) - being sorry for doing something bad or wrong in the past
•  predicament (pg. 33) - a difficult or unpleasant situation
•  bravado (pg. 39) - confident or brave talk or behavior that is intended to impress other people
•  reluctantly (pg. 60) - feeling or showing doubt about doing something
•  chastened (pg.62) - to cause (someone) to feel sad or embarrassed about something that has happened
•  incredulous (pg. 63) - not able or willing to believe something

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What was Ralph’s mom worried about?
•  Where did Ralph get trapped?
•  Was Keith afraid of Ralph? Do you think they will be friends?
•  Do you think it is a good idea for Ralph to ride a motorcycle?
•  How did Ralph get freed? How did Ralph get the motorcycle to work?
•  What else do you think Ralph can do besides ride a motorcycle?
•  Where did Ralph ride the motorcycle during the night?
•  What scared Ralph while he was riding the motorcycle at night?
•  What did Keith bring Ralph and his family to eat in the morning?
•  What was the maid bringing in the room that frightened Ralph?
•  What would you have done in a situation like this?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw and design/decorate a motorcycle you would like to have.
•  Make an origami mouse (see http://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Origami-Mouse )
•  Make a cut-out mouse (see http://www.dltk-holidays.com/valentines/mvmouse.html ). Cut a large heart (for mouse body) with colored construction paper and fold in half (use the pointed end for the face/nose). Cut 2 smaller hearts for the ears (use contrasting color) and glue on either side of the the pointed end of heart. Use yarn for a nose & tail - glue to the inside fold with small knot sticking out for the nose & long piece for tail hanging out at the large end of the heart. Use more yarn for whiskers. Draw or attach wiggly eyes.

Special activities:
•  Complete the provided word search puzzle.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!