The Mouse and the Motorcycle

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"Boy!" said Ralph to himself, his whiskers quivering with excitement. "Boy, oh boy!" Feeling that this was an important moment in his life, he took hold of the handgrips. They felt good and solid beneath his paws. Yes, this motorcycle was a good machine all right.

Ralph the mouse ventures out from behind the piney knothole in the wall of his hotel-room home, scrambles up the telephone wire to the end table, and climbs aboard the toy motorcycle left there by a young guest. His thrill ride does not last long. The ringing telephone startles Ralph, and he and the motorcycle take a terrible fall - right to the bottom of a metal wastebasket. Luckily, Keith, the owner of the motorcycle, returns to find his toy. Keith rescues Ralph and teaches him how to ride the bike. Thus begins a great friendship and many awesome adventures. Once a mouse can ride a motorcyle ... almost anything can happen!

Curriculet Details
37 Questions
37 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in fourth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining irony, character and imagery. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about owls and scenes from the stop-action movie. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of friendship, responsibility, and growing up. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Highway 40 is a highway that runs east to west across the United States. It used to run from Atlantic City, New Jersey to San Francisco, California. After some road updates, it was shortened quite a bit.  (This annotation contains an image)
Who is watching Room 215 in the hotel? 
San Francisco is one of the largest cities in California. It is home to a very famous landmark - the Golden Gate Bridge.  (This annotation contains an image)
An anitmacassar is a small cloth placed on the back of an armchair to protect it from wear or to keep it from getting dirty.  (This annotation contains an image)
What would you bring with you if you went on a vacation that lasted several weeks? 
Authors sometimes add little hints to tell the reader what is going to happen later in the story. This is called foreshadowing.  Please reread the highlighted paragraph. What hint is the author giving to you in this part? 

Chapter 2

The first chapter told the story through the point of view of the boy - Keith. Did you notice the change in this chapter? This is called third-person omniscient. Omniscient is a fancy word for being able to see into the minds of ALL the characters. In this chapter, we see what the mouse, Ralph, is thinking.  (This annotation contains an image)
What three emotions did Ralph feel while watching through the mousehole into Room 215? 
What does the word spoiled mean in the sentence? 
Not that long ago, telephones were not wireless and had cords that attached to the wall. Below you can see a picture of a telephone with its cord.  (This annotation contains an image)
Before he went through the mousehole, Ralph's mother called out "Remember your Uncle Victor!" Then as Ralph was falling into the wastebasket, he briefly thought about his "poor old Uncle Victor." What do you think happened to Uncle Victor? 

Chapter 3

What happened to Uncle Victor? 
This sentence is an example of what is called dramatic irony. It's when the reader knows something that the characters do not. Please re-read the highlighted sentence. What do YOU know, as a reader, that the bellboy and the college girl working at the hotel do not? 
Zwieback is a type of cracker/biscuit usually given to babies to chew on.  (This annotation contains an image)
How would you best describe the way Ralph feels throughout the chapter while trapped in a metal wastepaper basket? 

Chapter 4

Authors use similes to help the reader really picture their writing. Please watch the short video below and see if you can find the simile the author uses in the highlighted section of the story.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Ralph wish he had not eaten so much of the apple core? 
The boy discovers that he can talk to the mouse and they understand each other. If you could talk to any type of animal, what would it be and why?   
Again, this is an example of dramatic irony - where the reader knows something that the character does not. The reader knows why Keith doesn't mind staying a few more days at Mountain View Hotel, but his parents do not.  Keith does not mind staying longer at the hotel because 
Below is a short clip from the movie version of "The Mouse and the Motorcycle." There are a few differences between the story and the movie. Think about those differences and then think about which version you like better and why.  (This annotation contains a video)
What made the motorcycle move for Ralph? 
Sometimes if you don't know the meaning of a word, you can chunk the word into parts, or use context clues from the sentence to figure it out. Using those two strategies, what does the word threadbare mean in the highlighted sentence? 
While it does sound like Ralph is having a good time, motorcycles can be dangerous. Do you think something will happen to Ralph on the motorcycle? 
Chapters 1 -4 

Chapter 5

The expression "Scout's honor" is from the Boy Scouts. It means an honorable promise - one that you won't break. Below is a picture of a Boy Scout giving the sign with three fingers raised.  (This annotation contains an image)
Imagery is vivid and descriptive language that utilizes the five senses to help the reader imagine the scene. Authors sometimes use imagery to set the tone or feeling of a scene. What tone is suggested by the imagery in the highlighted paragraph? 
Sometimes smell imagery can remind you of memories from your own life. Please describe a time or memory from your life that includes some sort of good smell. Write your answer below. 
Terriers are a type of small dog. They are usually small and come in all sorts of colors. Below is one type of terrier - a Jack Russell terrier.  (This annotation contains an image)
After a night of riding the motorcycle, what astonishing thing does Ralph discover when Matt, the bellboy, sees him dozing in the hallway in the morning? 
Words that sound like they are spelled are called onomatopoeia. Watch the video below to see and hear more examples of this special tool authors use. (This annotation contains a video)
Where does Ralph hide when the boy's mother screams because she thinks she saw a mouse ride a motorcycle under the bed? 

Chapter 6

So far in the story, we know that that the protagonist or main character is Ralph, the mouse. But we aren't so sure who is Ralph's antagonist. Watch the video below for more information on protagonists and antagonists.  (This annotation contains a video)
Ralph had dreamed of a peanut butter sandwich since smelling it a long time ago. What would you order from room service if you could have any food you wanted? 
Owls are very dangerous for mice. They are one of the owl's main food sources. They have very good vision at night, which is when mice are most active. Ralph needs to be very careful if he ever goes outside. This is the reason his family moved inside the hotel.  (This annotation contains an image)
Who did Ralph share his peanut butter sandwich with? 
You may be unfamiliar with the shoes of the head housekeeper. Ralph considers these very sensible shoes.  (This annotation contains an image)
Now it seems that the story has a few possible antagonists. Which characters do you think could be the enemy of Ralph at this point? 

Chapter 7

Personification is when an author gives an object HUMAN characteristics. "Gobble" in the highlighted sentence is an example of this. Vacuums cannot "gobble." But it certainly makes it come alive in the story.  (This annotation contains a video)
How did Ralph survive not getting sucked into the vacuum cleaner? 
Do you think it's a good idea for Ralph to ride the motorcycle during the day? Sounds like Ralph is going to do it, whether he should or not. 
Maybe Ralph's mother was right when she said there were too many dangers outside of the mousehole. Can you list all the dangers Ralph has faced since he had that conversation with his mother?   
There was a lot of laundry for Ralph to chew through before he reached daylight. Below is a picture of what a laundry hamper might look like at a hotel. Poor Ralph. Now he has to tell Keith what happened to his motorcycle. How do you think that conversation will go?  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 8

What "wrong thing" did Uncle Lester bring up at the "wrong time" to Ralph? 
Family reunions are when relatives get together for an event or maybe a meal. Often times, it can be a little chaotic with all the different personalities and people of all ages in one place. Have you ever been to a family reunion? Look at the photo of a family reunion below. You would need a lot of food to feed that family! (This annotation contains an image)
Here is an example of dramatic irony again. The reader knows something that the character doesn't. What is it we know that Keith doesn't yet? 
Do you get an allowance? Sometimes parents allow their children to do chores or tasks around the house in order to earn some money -- called an allowance. Keith saved his allowance to buy his motorcycle. What would you save your allowance to buy?  (This annotation contains an image)
Chapters 5 - 8 Quiz 

Chapter 9

A Virginia creeper vine is a climbing vine composed of five-leaved ivy. It can grow and climb up trees, buildings and even telephone poles. But, never, never eat the berries! They are highly poisonous. (This annotation contains an image)
Keith states that he is "mad but not real mad" at Ralph. Can you think of a time when either you felt that way or someone felt that way about you? Please describe the situation below. 
What does the word pandemonium mean based on the description in this paragraph? 
There are lots of ways to rid a house of mice. You can use traps and poisons which some people believe are cruel to the mice. Another option is called a no-kill mouse trap where a mouse enters for a treat and then a door shuts and they can't get out. The mouse can then be released into a more suitable location. Below is an example of such a mouse trap. (This annotation contains an image)
Ralph comes up with a plan for how his family can stay in the hotel and avoid being exterminated. This plan shows that Ralph is beginning to 

Chapter 10

Keith feels sort of awful in his insides. Have you ever felt this way? What makes you feel better when you have a tummy ache? 
Why do you think it was such a shock to Ralph that Keith brought him only a couple of broken soda crackers? 
It seems a bit ungrateful that all the mice are thinking about is their own hunger and not about whether Keith will be okay. Do you agree or disagree with their thinking? Please explain why or why not. 
After coming in to check on Keith in the middle of the night, what is his mother worried about? 
Way before cellphones could call anywhere in the world, if you wanted to call outside the hotel, you needed to be connected by the switchboard operator. He or she would plug in - by hand- the call to a certain place. Below is a picture of a switchboard operator in the 1960's. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the problem that Keith's mother and father are facing with Keith's fever? 

Chapter 11

Here it is again. Everyone thinks Ralph is "too young" to do things. The life of a mouse is a dangerous one -- especially in a hotel. Make some predictions about the dangers Ralph will face as he tries to track down an aspirin for Keith's fever. 
What are some of the items that Ralph would like to stop and eat or take with him, but cannot because he had to press on and find an aspirin? 
Pink rollers were foam curlers women used to wear at night to curl their hair. There were usually made of pink foam, so that they were soft to sleep on in bed.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is the surprising and unexpected  reaction of the two women who trapped Ralph under a drinking glass? 
Giant redwood trees are called sequoias. They are the world's largest and tallest trees and can live up to 2,000 years. In fact, they are so large that some have been carved at their base and you can drive a car through them. Take a look at the video below. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 12

Situational irony is when there is a difference in the situation from what was expected. Ralph longed to go outside and explore. Now that he is outside, why can't he enjoy the experience? 
Television sets and mounted deer heads can't stare at Ralph because they aren't alive. It just feels that way to Ralph. Authors sometimes use this literary technique called personification. It's when you give human characteristics to objects. Can you imagine a giant deer head staring at you in the dark? (This annotation contains an image)
Would you let Ralph take the sports car to go and pick up the aspirin? Why or why not? 
Ambulances in route to a scene or a hospital usually use their lights and sirens to alert cars to move to the side. Ralph's ambulance makes the same sort of sounds. The author uses onomatopoeia with the sound of the ambulance. The word looks the same as it sounds. Listen to the ambulance sound below. Does It sound the same as Ralph's ambulance in your head?  (This annotation contains a video)
Authors use suspense to keep a story more exciting. What events are happening to Ralph that make these paragraphs suspenseful? 

Chapter 13

Finally, Ralph's family is realizing that he is growing up. But it's kind of fun to think about Ralph as a baby mouse. Maybe he looked like the photo below?  (This annotation contains an image)
What does the word bug mean in this sentence? 
Owls seem cute to look at in pictures and in zoos. However, they can be ferocious predators for a mouse. Imagine you are Ralph's size and watch the video below to get an idea of the danger Ralph faced. (Don't worry the owl doesn't attack anything.)  (This annotation contains a video)
Do you think Matt, the bellman, knows how the motorcycle got into that hamper of linen? Please explain. 
Here is a terrific little video of what Ralph could look like if he was "tearing around on a little motorcycle" as Matt imagines. (This annotation contains a video)
What has Keith finally discovered about Ralph? 
Ohio is located in mid-western part of the United States. It's a long way from the Mountain View hotel. Would you go with Keith, if you were Ralph?  (This annotation contains an image)
What nursery rhyme is Ralph referring to in this sentence? 
Chapters 9 - 13