Chapter Books for Preschoolers: Runaway Ralph

I’ve had lots of questions about when to start reading chapter books and what chapter books to start with, so I thought I’d keep a running log of the chapter books I’ve read with L&L:

#5 Runaway Ralph 
by Beverly Cleary

We finished this book about a week ago.  For reference, at the time of reading, Luke was just shy of turning 4 and Lilah was 29 months.  This is the sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and the 2nd book in the 3-part Ralph series.  

Lilah didn’t sit and listen to every chapter, but played in the same room quietly while I read when she was tired of sitting.  Luke always sits and listens. 🙂

We typically read one chapter each night, as the chapters in this book were a good bit longer than in The Mouse and the Motorcycle and there seemed to be fewer pictures.  

This book has 9 chapters and our particular copy which looks like the pictured one above has 191 pages (average of 21 pages per chapter).  For comparison, The Mouse and the Motorcycle had 13 chapters and 158 pages (average of 12 pages per chapter).  It took us a little over a week to read Runaway Ralph (~9 days).

Additional Notes:

  • In the 1980s, the Ralph books were made into movies.  Scholastic has these as part of their Storybook Treasures collection on DVD now, so if you don’t own the vintage VHS ones, you can still buy these: The Mouse and the MotorcycleRunaway Ralph, and Ralph S. Mouse.  You can buy also buy a collection of all 3 Ralph movies.  The movies are not cartoons; the people are real.  Ralph is a stuffed, claymation-style creature (though he isn’t actually claymation).  
    • We really loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle DVD.  Runaway Ralph wasn’t as good in our opinion because it differed a good bit from the book.  Luke was really disappointed that Sam (the dog) wasn’t included at all, because he really liked the Sam scenes from the book the best; we even reread the chapter where Sam first meets Ralph at least twice.  DH and I got a kick out of the child stars in the movie — Fred Savage and Sara Gilbert — and the really awful 80s shorts everyone was wearing though! hehe  Overall, the kids still really liked it, just not *as* much as The Mouse and the Motorcycle DVD.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Sverige says:

    3.0 out of 5 stars My favorite mouse rides again
    Runaway Ralph is a pleasant journey provided by Cleary. There is both high action in the encounters with Catso and time for thinking in the introspection provided by Chum the gerbil. The only shortcoming is that I was looking for a little more solid of a change in Garf s character; he starts off as a loner and I expected Ralph and him

  • […] Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary (see my Runaway Ralph […]

  • >