The 100 Books Project: The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

Neither the mouse nor the boy was the least bit surprised that each could understand the other. Two creatures who shared a love for motorcycles naturally spoke the same language.

“The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary

Clearly, I picked up this book as a little bit of a filler book; I know at this rate, I’ll never reach 100 books, so I had to throw in a few quick and painless reads. The Mouse and the Motorcycle was one of those classic books I remember reading several times growing up; I’m fairly certain I haven’t touched it since probably third grade, but I was pleased by how charming I still found it. Granted, this book was published in 1965, and so many things from that era seem to be regarded with a certain kitsch of admiration, but I think this book deserves it. The pure innocence of the parents having their own room but still with twin beds and the tragedy that might befall the little boy; if only they could find an aspirin! But it’s still a really cute story, albeit quaint.

Ralph is a mouse who lives in a crumbly old hotel, in a knothole in a baseboard of room 215. He and his family survive, but barely, on the dropped crumbs and messiness of the typical guests. One day, a boy named Keith and his parents come to stay at the hotel, and Keith has brought with him many car toys, including a bright shiny motorcycle that instantly attracts Ralph’s attention. Defying the reprimands of his mother, Ralph inspects the motorcycle and tries to ride it, only to find himself riding it off the table and into a wastebasket. There, Keith finds him, and Keith teaches Ralph that, to get the motorcycle going, you just have to make the engine noises (see? Quaint). The boys strike more a business relationship than a friendship, I’d say, which I like. Ralph is a little rude and inconsiderate; he’s not perfect and precocious, which is refreshing. Sometimes, I like when I’m not too fond of a protagonist, although, of course Ralph learns an important lesson about give and take and generocity and gratefulness after getting into quite a few scrapes due to his love for Keith’s motorcycle.

Like I said, it was a filler book, something to boost the count, but it was a really cute read and a blast from the past and my childhood. If you haven’t read it growing up, give it a look, especially if you have kids. Kids love rodents on motorcycles.

Pity I’m expected to return to work today. It’s dark this morning, with great booms of thunder and spurts of rain. It’s the perfect day for curling up and finishing more books, but alas. At least I’ll get to enjoy some tea there, though.

Books read: 28 out of 100.


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