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Runaway Ralph DVD Review by Stacy Rocha

Scholastic Treasures

The movie Runaway Ralph is based on the book Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary. Ralph, a mouse, has grown tired of living with his mother, uncle, and demanding little cousins. He decides to take his motorcycle and run away to the summer camp down the road. While there, he is caught by Garf, a boy who doesn't want to be at camp. Garf wants to keep Ralph as his pet and puts him in a cage. He soon discovers that Ralph can talk, and the two form a friendship. By the end of summer, Garf begins to enjoy camp and Ralph realizes how much he misses the freedom of his home and his family.

This movie was probably made in the 80s. It stars a young Fred Savage, as Garf, Summer Phoenix, Sara Gilbert, and Kellie Martin. The technology in the 80s definitely wasn't what it is today, and some children may find the puppets used for the animals silly or just plain boring. It didn't seem to bother my younger children, ages 2 and 6, but it wasn't able to keep the attention of my two older children, ages 9 and 10. Running time is 60 minutes, and the movie is recommended for ages 3-9. The DVD also features a bonus story: "Commander Toad in Space," based on the book by Jane Yolen. There is a read-along feature, which is pretty much just subtitles that light up across the screen as the lines are said.

I think this is a cute story better suited for a younger audience that hasn't had much experience with the wide range of movies available today. The plot of the story is great, and it teaches about friendship, teamwork, and how much we all need our family.

Product review by Stacy Rocha, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010