Cover image for Runaway Ralph
Runaway Ralph
Cleary, Beverly.
Personal Author:
Morrow Eagle library edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow Junior Books, [1970]

Physical Description:
175 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Ralph runs away looking for freedom but winds up a prisoner at a summer camp.
Reading Level:
890 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 4.0 5041.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.1 6 Quiz: 09901 Guided reading level: O.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



"The rousing notes of the bugle and the laughter and shouting increased the feeling of rebellion within Ralph. As the last strains of the bugle call hovered in the clear mountain air, Ralph made up his mind. He knew now what he was going to do. He was going to run away. Fed up with his timid mother and uncle and his squirmy little cousins, Ralph hops onto his toy motorcycle and zooms down the road to summer camp. It turns out camp is not all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fun. A strict watchdog, a mouse-hungry cat, and a troubled boy named Garf lead Ralph on some fur-raising escapades. Perhaps home isn't such a bad place to be, if only Ralph can find a way to get there again.

Author Notes

Beverly Cleary was born on April 12, 1916. Her family lived on a small farm in McMinnville, Oregon, before moving to Portland. Ironically, this internationally known author of children's books struggled to learn how to read when she entered school. Before long however Cleary had learned to love books, and as a child she spent a good deal of her time in the public library.

Cleary earned her first B.A. in 1938 from the University of California at Berkeley. Her second degree, a B.A. in library science, was bestowed by the University of Washington in Seattle in 1939. She worked for a short time as Children's Librarian in Yakima, Washington, before moving to California.

Cleary began her writing career in her early thirties. Her stories and especially her characters, Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby, have proven popular with young readers. Her books have been translated into fourteen languages and are available in over twenty countries. Some of her best known titles are Ellen Tebbits (1951), Henry and the Paper Route (1957), Runaway Ralph (1970), and Dear Mr. Henshaw (1983). Several television programs have been produced from the Henry Huggins and Ramona stories.

Cleary has won many awards for her contributions to children's literature, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1975, the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal in 1980 and the John Newbery Medal in 1984.

(Bowker Author Biography)



Runaway Ralph Chapter One Ralph Hears a Distant Bugle The small brown mouse named Ralph who was hiding under the grandfather clock did not have much longer, to wait before he could ride his motorcycle. The clock had struck eight already, and then eight thirty. Ralph was the only mouse in the Mountain View Inn, a run-down hotel in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, who owned a motorcycle. It was a mouse-sized red motorcycle, a present from a boy named Keith who bad been a guest in Room 215 over the Fourth of July weekend. Ralph was proud of his motorcycle, but his brothers and sisters said he was selfish. "I am not," said Ralph. "Keith gave the motorcycle to me." That evening, while Ralph waited under the clock and watched the television set across the lobby, a man and a woman followed by a medium-sized boy walked into the hotel. They had the, rumpled look of people who had driven many milesthat day. The boy was wearing jeans, cowboy boots, and a white T-shirt with the words Happy Acres Camp stenciled across the front. Ralph observed the boy with interest. He was the right kind of boy, a boy sure to like peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Since the day Keith had left the hotel, Ralph had longed for crumbs of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. A grating, grinding noise came from the works of the grandfather clock. Ralph clapped Ralph Hears a Distant Bugle his paws over his ears. The clock grumbled and groaned and managed to strike the hour. Nine o'clock! The time almost had come.The stroke of nine was followed by the slow sad notes of music that lingered -and died mysteriously in the distance every night at this histime. "Did You hear that?" the man asked the boy. "It was the bugle at camp playing taps." So that's what that music is, thought Ralph, who had puzzled over those notes all summer. When the boy did not answer, his mother said, "Come on, Garf, cheer. up. You're going to have a lot of fun at camp." "Maybe," answered Garf, "but I doubt it." The father looked annoyed. "You won't have any fun if you take that attitude," he said, and went to the desk to inquire about a room with an extra cot for the night. Ralph could not understand the boy's behavior. He had often heard other young guests wearing the same kind of white T-shirt speak of a place called camp, but unlike this boy they always sounded eager and excited about going there. Ralph did not know exactly what a camp was, but since medium-sized boys and girls went there, he thought it must be a place where people ate peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. The desk clerk summoned old Matt, the elderly bellboy and hotel handyman, to show the family to their room. As Matt picked up their suitcases and led the way to the elevator, he said to Garf, "Well, young fellow, what are you going to have for breakfast tomorrow? Apple pie or chocolate cake?"' Matt, who was not always popular with parents, was always liked by children. The boy smiled faintly at. Matt's joke as he followed the old man into the elevator. What that boy needs is a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, thought Ralph. When Matt returned to the lobby, Ralph watched him go out -onto the hotel porch where he stood for, a few minutes among the empty rocking chairs for his nightly look at the Ralph Hears a Distant Bugle stars before he retired for the night. The night clerk, a college student hired for the summer, came on duty and settled down on a couch to read a thick book. Ralph's time almost had come. Sure enough, the clerk read a few pages, and then lay down on the couch with the book facedown -on his chest and closed his eyes. Ralph was free for the night! He darted under the television set where he had-hidden his motorcycle and the crash helmet that Keith had made from half a pingpong ball lined with thistledown. He already had polished the chrome on his motorcycle by licking his paws and rubbing them over the dull spots. Now heset his crash 'helmet on his head, snapped the rubber bind under his chin to hold it in place, and taking care to keep his tail out of the spokes mounted his motorcycle. Next he inhaled deeply andwith a Pb-pb-b-b-b sound, the only sound that will make a miniature motor-cycle go, sped out from under the television set and across the carpet. Pb-pb-b-b-b! Ralph rode across the lobby... Runaway Ralph . Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.