Runaway Ralph (Book #2) by Beverly Cleary
(Summary taken from inside the book jacket) "Ralph is the only mouse living at the Mountain View Inn who owns a motorcycle--which means he has the perfect opportunity to explore the mysterious "summer camp" nearby. Ralph isn't sure what a summer camp is, but he's determined to find out. One night, fed up with his younger relatives' pesky demands to borrow his motorcycle, he takes off for Happy Acres Camp. But once he gets there, he's confronted by a watchdog, a grouchy gopher, and an entire family of cats. Then he's captured by an unhappy boy named Garf. Ralph is desperate to escape....but maybe he needs to help Garf before Garf can help him."
Ralph is at it again, and this time he is even more adventurous! He actually leaves the hotel and travels to the summer camp. This is a fun sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle. My daughter (going into third grade) just finished it, and she loved it as much as I did. I'm so happy that this new technological-savvy group of kids can still enjoy a classical fun story. I love that I can share with her the books I loved as a child, and that she enjoys them as well. This book not only has action and adventure, but it also has some good lessons. Ralph learns that he can't "judge a book by its cover," when it comes to human friends, and he learns that sometimes solutions to problems take time. There is even a lesson about jumping to conclusions and judging someone to be guilty without giving him a chance to explain or share his side of the story. All these lessons are pertinent today. Even though Garf comes across as grumpy and isolated, you know that he just wants a friend, and he wants to be trusted. This book has some fun characters in it, and is well written. It's a fun series. It would also make a great read-aloud. My daughter is going into third grade next year and was able to read it on her own. It's about a second grade reading level, it may be okay for a really high-level first grader. As a read-aloud I'd say preschool and above.
Rating: G (It's clean! There are a few scenes that may be a little scary for some preschoolers, but that's it!)
Recommendation: As a read-aloud: Preschool and up. As a silent read: Second grade and up.