Cleary, B. (1970). Runaway Ralph. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers
Genre: Adventure, Friendship
Reading/Interest Level: Ages 8-12
Similar Titles: The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Awards: Won Nene Award - 1972
Plot: This sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle, brings back everyone's favorite mouse, Ralph. This time, Ralph expresses his annoyance with all of his family members – he is simply sick of brothers, sisters and cousins, not to mention his mother and his uncle Lester. He decides to run away on his motorcycle. As he drives away from the Mountain View Inn, he comes to the Happy Acres Camp, where he is captured by a boy named Garf – soon Ralph is put in a cage; he makes friends with Chum the hamster. Ralph eventually realizes that Garf isn't so bad… but will he ever make it back to the Inn?
Personal Thoughts: This story is a classic that has been read by many generations of kids, myself included. Coming back to reread the story that I read in elementary school was nice – the tale is positive and shows the meaning of friendship. The story becomes more exciting with illustrations by Tracy Dockray – the pictures accompanying Cleary's writing add more to this adventure. Animal lovers will enjoy this book – so fill fans of Cleary's other work.