A book review: Frederick

Title: Frederick

Author: Leo Lionni
Published: Anderson Press 
Synopsis: While the other field mice work to gather grain and nuts for winter, Frederick sits on a sunny rock by himself. “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days,” he tells them. Another day he gathers “colors,” and then “words.” And when the food runs out, it is Frederick, the dreamer and poet, whose endless store of supplies warms the hearts of his fellow mice, and feeds their spirits during the darkest winter days. Frederick’s story will warm readers as well in this Caldecott Honor winning fable.

From Amazon.co.uk
Rereadability: I can’t remember when we got this one exactly, but it’s a fairly recent discovery. And when I say discovery, I read this in the shop, a smile spread across my face and I knew I was going to buy it. I felt as if I was the first person to ever discover Leo Lionni (silly me). I have to confess that part of the reason I love Frederick so, is that as a ‘cough cough’ writer myself, I do spend an awful lot of time starting into space. I so relate to Frederick and  I just love the fact that after being called a poet, he blushes and says, ‘I know it.’ 
Pictures: While there is something reminiscent of Eric Carle in Lionni’s collages, there’s also something very distinctive. I spotted a first grade teacher carrying a book under her arm and instantly recognised the style and we waxed lyrical about what a sweet little book Frederick is. 


The three year old test: And it’s these pictures which are part of what make it such a great read with a young child. The bubba’s favourite part of the bedtime story is when she can tell her own story using the pictures. Let me tell you that some of the time her story and the ‘real’ story have very little in common. But here Lionni’s pictures hold meaning to her little three year old brain and she knows the family are working and that Frederick is doing nothing and she expresses that. 

Text: And then, if like me, you didn’t grow up with Lionni, his words are beautiful. I was once told rather glibly, that illustrators couldn’t write. So maybe Lionni was a writer who could illustrate, or maybe this was just one very talented illustrator and I shall definitely be looking out for more of his books during out next book shop visit. 

Oh and then if you are wondering why I love this book so much, it was made into a cartoon…

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