Ralph S. Mouse

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First off, I have to say that this book is very appropriate for the grade level that we chose it for. The plot is primarily about the adventures of Ralph, the mouse, and I think the way that he reacts to situations is an accurate representation of where third and fourth graders stand cognitively and emotionally. He is rather self-involved, taking things personally that aren't really meant to hurt him and often reacting selfishly. At the same time, he is capable of understanding how others feel and the consequences of hurting them. It is his empathy for his relatives and for the custodian at the Inn that urges him to leave and go to the school. At the same time, he was not able to see why his buddy needed him to run the maze, so he did what he wanted instead. The only reason he even tried the maze was to gain back his motorcycle. This story reinforces how children feel at that age level; they are centered on keeping themselves happy, but they strive to understand others as well. They are capable of making sacrifices to help others, so long as they grasp the reason behind the need.
The plot itself is entertaining. A mouse, which is as intelligent as it's human friends and can speak to special people, can ride a motorcycle, and which runs away to live at an elementary school. His little trials are at times humorous, but still, they help children to identify with him and to understand that his problems are as big to him as theirs' are to themselves.
One of the things I like the most about this book is that Ralph still has mouse characteristics and habits, even beyond his appearance. These actions and thoughts are shown entirely fromfirst person, so that again, the children can sympathize with the main character. Unlike the mouse in Stuart Little, the only two things that Ralph does that are "human" is talk and ride a motorcycle. He still eats like a mouse, lives like