Runaway Ralph (Children's read)
Our favorite mouse from The Mouse in the Motorcycle is back in Runaway Ralph. Ralph, a hotel mouse with a motorcycle given him by a former hotel guest, longs for a free life away from the hotel and the restrictions imposed on him by his family. When he gets the opportunity to escape and run to the children's camp down the road, he takes it. But, freedom does not turn out exactly as Ralph had hoped. Life in the camp is not what Ralph expected, but he does make a new friend and have many adventures while he is realizing that home really wasn't so bad after all.
I enjoy Beverly Cleary books and have been reading them aloud to my children since my two oldest were small. There are some uses of the word "stupid" and some derogatory name calling and remarks in the camp scenes. But, overall, I think the lessons about friendship, growing up, and learning to value one's family are positive. Ashlyne and Rachel (6 and 4) really enjoyed hearing about Ralph's adventures.