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The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary is a children’s novel first published in 1965. It may seem too old, but the story is one that would still appeal to children who are starting to read or its audio book can be played for kids to enjoy the adventures of a mouse and a little boy who become unlikely friends.

Ralph, a boy mouse lives in an old hotel with his family. He wants to go out and explore the world, but his mother doesn’t allow him to venture far from their knothole in a hotel room. But when a young boy, Keith, and his family come to stay at the hotel in Ralph’s room, the young mouse can smell adventure.

And Ralph’s wish to explore the other floors and parts of the hotel come true when Keith allows him to ride his toy motorcycle.

The two show each other things from their own perspectives, and they grow closer as they have some fun and adventures together. But when Ralph loses Keith’s motorcycle and barely manages to return to his hole safely, the boy becomes upset with the mouse and their friendship would have ended Ralph had not risked his life to save Keith’s.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle is really refreshing as the adventure here is sweet and fun, just what it should be for kids, and not gross and weird as the new novels of Wimpy Kid. And both the mouse and human families are normal and not dysfunctional as the ones in more recent books. Stories of this kind are what new readers should be exposed to so that their imagination can develop in a healthy manner.

Kids, even in books, should seem like kids, and not mini versions of street thugs. Keith and Ralph show how one can have a good time without the need to be a misfit as it is shown in the books written these days.

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 7th, 2018