Chapter 1: The New Guests


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The Mouse and the Motorcycle

By Beverly Cleary

Summary by Gail Crider

Chapter 1: The New Guests
After five days of driving from Ohio the Gridley family checked into an old hotel named the Mountain View Inn.

The boy, Keith, was put into room 215 alone. The mother was not so happy about the hotel, because it was old and she thought that it must have mice. The bellboy, Matt, who was all of sixty years old and had been at the hotel for many years, assured Mrs. Gridley that management would not allow mice.

The father was tired from driving 400 miles in mountain traffic. He wanted to take a rest before dinner. Keith explored his room and played with several small cars that he had brought for the trip. He played on his bed with a toy ambulance, sports car and a red motorcycle feeling the whole time like someone was watching him.
Chapter 2: The Motorcycle

Keith left his toy cars lined up on the bedside table. His mother had thrown away the core of an apple that he had left on the table. After they left to go to dinner, Ralph the mouse who lived in the wall, ventured out to check out the motorcycle. His mother warned him to be careful reminding him of all the dangers that he may come across, but Ralph was already climbing the telephone cord before his mother could stop him. He thought that his mother worried too much. Ralph was curious about the shiny motorcycle that the boy had left. He climbed up onto the table and kicked the tires on the motorcycle. He was excited. He climbed up on the motorcycle trying to figure out how to start it. Ralph craved action and he wanted to ride the motorcycle fast. He began to push himself around the table with his feet trying to get up enough speed to coast. Ralph began to think that this was just a toy and that it would not run at all. As he was turning a corner on the table the telephone rang a half ring. This startled Ralph making him loose control and him and the motorcycle fell in to the waste basket in a heap.

Chapter 3: Trapped
After Ralph came to, his first thoughts were of the motorcycle. Was it broken? He picked himself up and checked himself out to make sure that he had not broken bones, then his checked out the motorcycle to see if it was broken. One of the handle bars was bent and some paint was chipped but other than that it was okay. Ralph began to think about his poor uncle Victor who had also accidentally landed in a wastebasket. He could not get out and the maid had dumped him out with the trash. The hotel trash was dumped into an incinerator, and Uncle Victor was never seen again.

Ralph heard the bellboy and the maid talking in the hallway. He did not want to be tossed out with the garbage.

Ralph tried to run and hit the side of the wastebasket to turn it over but he was too small. He also tried to put the apple core on top of the motorcycle seat but he was not strong enough. He decided that he might as well be thrown out on a full stomach so he began to eat the apple core. It was juicy and delicious. After his stomach was full he curled up to go to sleep hoping that someone would cover him with a tissue so that the maid would not be screaming as she tossed him out. He also hoped that the boy would miss his motorcycle and come looking for it.
Chapter 4: Keith

When Keith came into his room he noticed that the Motorcycle was missing. He began to yell that someone had stolen his motorcycle. His mother told him that it had to be in the room somewhere unconcerned because boys always loose things. He searched under the bed in the drawers and under the table until he looked into the wastebasket and found to motorcycle. He was curious about how it got into the trash and how the handlebar and paint had gotten messed up. He then looked again into the wastebasket and saw Ralph. Ralph did not move as Keith asked him if he rode his motorcycle into the garbage. He convinced Ralph that he would not hurt him and then the maid came into the room to turn down his covers. After getting rid of the maid his mother told him to get his bath and brush his teeth. Ralph wanted out of the wastebasket but Keith told him as soon as the lights were out that he would get him out.

After everyone was quiet, Keith helped Ralph out of the wastebasket. Ralph could understand everything that Keith was saying to him and Keith understood everything that Ralph was saying. Keith asked Ralph if he wanted to ride his motorcycle. Ralph had to admit that he did not know how to start the motorcycle. Keith explained to Ralph that he had to make noises such as Pb-pb-b-b-b to make the cycle go. After Ralph learned how to make the cycle go he rode all around the room not wanting got stop.

Chapter 5: Adventure in the Night

Ralph and Keith came to an agreement that Ralph could ride the motorcycle up and down the hallways of the hotel at night and that Keith would play with the motorcycle during the day. On his first night out in the hallway, Ralph encountered a terrier that was being taken out for a walk by his sleepy owner. The man did not see Ralph on the motorcycle, but the dog did. The dog barked at Ralph and scarred him at first until he realized that the dog could not get away from his owner. Ralph then made faces at the dog which made him bark louder. Keith had left the door to room 215 open slightly so that Ralph could return the motorcycle under his bed in the morning. During the night a gust of wind had closed the door and Ralph could not get into the room. He fell asleep and awoke with Matt the bellboy standing over him. Matt began to talk to Ralph about the motorcycle. Ralph realized that Matt was a friend. He asked Matt to open the door for him so that he could ride the motorcycle into the room. Matt cracked open the door and as Ralph began to ride in Keith’s mother began to scream. Ralph rode the motorcycle under the bed. The mother awoke the family telling them that she had seen a mouse riding a motorcycle under the bed. They convinced her that she was still dreaming.

Chapter 6: A Peanut Butter Sandwich

Keith scolded Ralph about staying out so late with the motorcycle. Ralph told Keith that he was hungry and that they had not been leaving him any crumbs to eat. Keith and his family were headed to the dining room for breakfast. Keith asked Ralph what he wanted to eat and told him that he would bring something from breakfast. Ralph had never been asked what he wanted to eat before. He had always taken what he could fine. He did remember a family who had stayed in room 215 before, spreading something brown on a slice of bread and then placing another slice of break on top. Ralph did not know what to call it. Keith laughed and told him that it was a peanut butter sandwich. He told him that he would bring him some sandwich from breakfast although it was a strange choice for him to ask fro at breakfast. Ralph went into the mouse hole. He told his mother that the boy was going to bring him a sandwich. His mother was very worried about Ralph making friends with a human. Ralph told her that Keith was nice and that he liked mice. Keith brought half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and stuffed it into the mouse hole. Ralph bragged to his mother about getting the sandwich from Keith. Keith had promised to leave the motorcycle under the bed as long as Ralph would not ride it during the day. When Ralph had finished eating he took a long nap. When he woke up he remembered the motorcycle and ran out to see it. He wanted to ride it but decided to keep his promise to Keith. About that time to maid opened the door and began to pull the sheets off the bed revealing Ralph and the motorcycle. Ralph could not run back to the hole. He heard the head maid tell the maid to clean everywhere and to vacuum under the bed. She was to let her know if she saw any signs of mice. Ralph heard the noise of the maid dragging the vacuum cleaner into the room.

Chapter 7: The Vacuum Cleaner

The maid drug the vacuum cleaner into the room. She placed a nozzle on the end of the long tube and began pushing it back and forth under the bed. Ralph could tell that the maid was not paying attention to where she was vacuuming, because the nozzle came off the end of the hose and the maid did not even notice. Suddenly the maid dropped the hose onto the floor and began to look at herself in the mirror as she sang. Ralph saw her put her hair behind her ear and pile her hair on top of her head all while the vacuum cleaner motor ran. Ralph’s tail began to be sucked up into the hose. He could feel his whole body being sucked into the hose. He managed to hold onto the motorcycle and drag himself out of the vacuum’s suction. When he was free from the vacuum, he began to wonder if the motorcycle motor was stronger than the vacuum cleaner motor. He could not resist trying, telling himself that Keith would want to know also. He cranked up the motorcycle as he heard the maid walking toward the electrical outlet. He had to hurry if he was going to find out. He drove the motorcycle out from under the bed and got caught up in a pillow case that was lying on the floor. He could not get out. Soon he heard the tap of dog feet on the wood floor in the hallway. The terrier that he had run into earlier was barking at the pillow case where Ralph was. The owner of the dog got him and the maid picked up the linens and placed them into the clothes hamper in the hallway. Ralph began to chew his way out of the linen each time making the hole large enough for the motorcycle to fit through. Soon Ralph’s jaws became so tired that he had to make the decision to leave the motorcycle behind. He had to save himself. He chewed his way to the top of the hamper and jumped onto the floor. He ran to room 215 and squeezed under the door. Safe at last, he went to his hole to take a long deserved nap.

Chapter 8: A Family Reunion

Ralph’s mother awoke him by shaking him. Ralph was startled. His mother told him the room service had delivered some more food. Ralph did not understand, and then he realized that Keith had returned and brought a blueberry muffin and a chocolate chip cookie. His mother said that they were going to have a family reunion. Soon all of Ralph’s aunts and uncles and cousins came from where they lived in the hotel. Ralph’s Uncle Lester ask him what he had heard about him riding a motorcycle. His Aunt Dorothy said that it was too dangerous for him to be riding around the halls on a motorcycle. Uncle Lester said that if he was younger that he would like to ride a motorcycle. Ralph’s cousins gathered around him begging him for a ride on the motorcycle. He told them that he had lost the motorcycle. They said that he probably never had one to start with that he had made it up. Soon they all got quiet as Ralph heard Keith calling for him to come out. Ralph did not want to go and face Keith after losing his motorcycle. He had broken his promise to Keith. Keith told them that they had better quiet down if they did not want his mother to her them. Ralph’s mother pushed him out to face his consequences with Keith. Keith had a gift for Ralph. Keith had made Ralph a crash helmet out of a half of a ping-pong ball and some tape. He placed it on Ralph’s head. He told Ralph that if he was going to ride around on a motorcycle that he needed a helmet. Ralph felt so bad about losing Keith’s motorcycle that he confessed about riding it and losing it in the linen. Keith was very disappointed in Ralph for breaking his promise not the ride the motorcycle during the daytime.

Chapter 9: Ralph Takes Command

Ralph was sad because he thought Keith would never speak to him again. He stayed up all night watching the bats and the owls outside from the windowsill. In the morning Ralph realized that Keith was starring at him from his bed. Keith began to talk to Ralph and Ralph was happy because Keith was still talking to him. The two talked and they realized that they both were trying to grow up too soon, that is why they both got into so much trouble. Ralph went back to his mouse hole and discovered that the maid had found the sheets and towels that he had chewed through to get out of the hamper. The management would be putting out poison and traps now and they would have to leave. His mother was so upset that she could not talk. Ralph told his family that Keith was not mad at him and was bringing them room service. Ralph came up with a plan the keep his family safe. He told his family that he could get Keith to continue to bring them food and they could all stay in the mouse hole until management had not seen any mice and they forgot about them. Everyone agreed that it was a great idea.

Chapter 10: An Anxious Night

Ralph’s plan was working until Keith came back from a day trip and Ralph heard him tell his mother that he was not hungry. Keith asked if he had to go down to dinner. Ralph was worried about what they were going to have for room service that night. Keith sat on the bed and did not even play with his toys. Ralph came out of his mouse hole and asked Keith what was wrong with him. Keith told him that he was not feeling right. Ralph said that he knew what he meant that he wasn’t feeling right since he lost the motorcycle. Keith told him that it wasn’t that, he wasn’t feeling good inside. Ralph was selfish because all he could think about was how his family was going to eat if Keith did not eat. Keith did save them some peanuts from earlier and he put them into the mouse hole. Keith went to the cafeteria, but came back early. He placed a few crackers in the mouse hole and went to bed. Soon his parents came up to check on Keith. His father told him that he would feel better in the morning that he had hiked too long in the heat and that was why he was feeling bad. During the night Keith woke up talking saying “motorcycle”. His parents came into room 215 and discovered that Keith was running a fever. His father searched everywhere for an aspirin to give Keith, but there was not one to be found in the hotel. They would have to wait until morning. The night desk person was going to call the milkman to bring some with him when he delivered the milk at 7:00 am. Ralph heard the conversation and was determined to find an aspirin for Keith.

Chapter 11: The Search

Ralph told his family that he had to go out of the mouse hole to help Keith. When Ralph told his mother that he was going in search of an aspirin she was devastated. His father was poisoned and died from carrying an aspirin in his mouth pouch. His family tried to talk him out of it, but Ralph was determined to help Keith. Ralph went from room to room looking for an aspirin. All he found was a few pretzel crumbs and a bobby pin. He was in the last room on the second floor when the side table lamp came on. Ralph froze in the middle of the floor. The next thing he knew a drinking glass had been put over him trapping him in that spot. It was a young woman who was staying in the hotel with another young woman. They were teachers. They both thought he was so cute and talked about taking him home to Wichita with them for a pet in one of their classrooms. They said the boys and girls could bring food from home to feed him. Ralph thought that he had always wanted to travel, but to be in a cage in Wichita was not his idea of travel.

The teachers realized that they still had a long trip ahead of them and could not take him with them. They did not want to release him into the hotel, so they decided to toss him out the window onto the vine that was growing up the side of the hotel. They closed the window and left Ralph hanging on the vine.
Chapter 12: An Errand of Mercy

Ralph had always wanted to climb down the vine and go to the ground floor. Now he had to. He scurried down the vine to a windowsill on the first floor. The window was open so he scampered in. There were three college age boys sleeping in this room. One was sleeping on a sleeping bag on the floor. Ralph was in such a hurry that he went right over the boy in the sleeping bag. Then he saw some thing white under the dresser. As he got closer he could see that it was an aspirin. He managed to role the aspirin around the boy sleeping on the floor and out into the hallway. When he got to the stairs in the lobby the grandfather clock struck one-thirty. The night clerk, who was still asleep on the couch in the lobby, turned over. Ralph ran under the clock. When he knew it was safe, he came out and tried to figure out how to get the aspirin up the stairs. He remembered the elevator. He had an idea. He hid the aspirin beside the elevator and ran up to Keith’s room. Keith was awake, so Ralph told him that he had found him an aspirin, but that it was down stairs. Ralph asked Keith if he could borrow his sports car. Keith did not want him to borrow it and Ralph could not blame him since he had lost his motorcycle. So Ralph asked if he could borrow the ambulance. Keith did not feel like arguing so he said “yes”. Ralph asked Keith to open the door for him. Ralph drove fast past the room where the terrier was staying making a lot of noise. Soon the door opened, as he had planned, and the owner came out with the dog to take him for a walk. Ralph raced onto the elevator as the man walked on. When they got to the ground floor he waited for the man and the dog to get out and then he raced out to get the aspirin. He loaded the aspirin into the ambulance and tried to get back onto the elevator before the man came back. As he was crossing the crack between the hall floor and the elevator floor his wheels got stuck in the crack. He got out and tried to push the ambulance, but he could not move it. He knew the man would be back soon so he used all the breathe he had to get the ambulance to move. Soon the tires got traction and the ambulance went into the elevator so fast that he hit the back wall. When got back to the room he had to leave the ambulance outside because the door had been shut by the wind. He climbed onto Keith’s bed and told him the he had brought him an aspirin.

Chapter 13: A Subject for a Composition

Ralph went back to the mouse hole where he was a hero. He told the story about almost getting eaten by the owl and the ambulance getting stuck in the crack. He left out the part about the drinking glass. His mother was proud of him and finally realized that he was growing up. She was worried that the aspirin may not have been an aspirin. Ralph explained that Keith refused to take it until his mother checked it out. When she saw it she knew it was an aspirin and thought that the night clerk must have found it and left it on the night stand. In the morning Keith still had a fever, but was feeling a little better. His father asked him if he was hungry and that he would order him room service. Keith was excited about room service, but said he was not hungry. Then he thought of Ralph and his family and told his father to order bacon and toast with jelly. Ralph came out to see how Keith was feeling. He told him his story about getting the aspirin. Keith was grateful to Ralph for risking his life to get him the aspirin. The two began to talk about growing up and the thinks they had to do to get there. Keith decides to ask Ralph if he wanted to go home with him to Ohio. Ralph thought of the motorcycle. He would not be separated from it if he went, but he would miss his family. Also his mother had given him permission the go to the ground floor now. Ralph reminded Keith that his mother did not like mice. Keith said that she would let him keep him in a cage. Ralph said no thanks. Keith asked Ralph if he wanted to keep the motorcycle with him. Ralph could not believe that Keith would even suggest that. Keith told Ralph that he would have to ask his mother first. He ran to ask her and came back in a few minutes with a yes as long as he was careful and wore his crash helmet every time. The only problem was where to keep the motorcycle. After much discussion they decided that Keith would leave it under the TV in the ground floor lobby. Ralph was so excited and Keith let him ride around in his room while his parents were gone for the day. When Ralph finished riding Keith had went off to sleep. Ralph parked the motorcycle beside the bed and let Keith sleep. After all, he would have plenty of time to ride his motorcycle after Keith had left for home.

The End


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