Runaway Ralph


Beverly Cleary




Date Reviewed:

May 24, 2021

alph, the intrepid mouse that we first met in The Mouse and the Motorcycle, returns for a new adventure in this children's book. Ralph is living in the Mountain View Inn in California, but he is growing tired of his many cousins and young siblings, all of whom are jealous of his wonderful motorcycle. These relatives continually demand that Ralph give them rides on his motorcycle. But Ralph doesn't want to give them rides, he wants to race alone up and down the hallways of the Inn, exploring the building while racing his bike back and forth. Ralph longs for independence; to be his own mouse and do as he pleases.

One day Ralph overhears that one of the young guests, a boy named Garf, will be leaving the Inn and travel to Happy Acres camp. Ralph realizes that the distant bugle sounds that he hears each night are coming from the nearby camp. It sounds exciting to Ralph - many kids means that there will be many crumbs of tasty food on the floor. And at camp, Ralph will be free of the supervision of the adult mice, and away from the annoyances from the younger mice. Ralph resolves to jump on his motorcycle and zoom off to summer camp.

Happy Acres turns out to be less ideal that Ralph imagined. A dog named Sam guards the camp, and Sam refuses to let a mouse onto the premises. Ralph eludes Sam, but soon encounters a much more dangerous opponent - the camp has a feline name Catso, and Catso loves to pounce on mice and eat them. Ralph is trapped and his doom is imminent when he happens to be rescued by Garf. Though thankful to be saved, Ralph is not pleased that Garf puts him in a cage to be kept as a pet mouse.

Runaway Ralph is a little more intense than The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Ralph is in mortal danger from the sly Catso. Plus, he is imprisoned by in a cage. Ralph experiences loneliness and is upset by his helplessness. Eventually, he finds a way to talk to Garf, and the two lonely souls become friends.