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Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (Step Into Reading, Step 3) Library Binding – July 8, 2014


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Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (Step Into Reading, Step 3) + Frederick + Swimmy
Price for all three: $37.13

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Series: Step into Reading
  • Library Binding: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385756305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385756303
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,576,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A delicate fantasy about friendship, illustrated with bold, sumptuous collages." —The New York Times

"Eye-catching, boldly colored collages illustrate this classic 'grass is always greener' story in which a live mouse is envious of his mechanical counterpart." —Booklist

From the Inside Flap

Illus. in full color. "Eye-catching, boldly colored collages illustrate this classic 'grass is always greener' story in which a live mouse is envious of his mechanical counterpart."--Booklist.   --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

author spotlight
"From time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge."--Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

"Of all the questions I have been asked as an author of children's books, the most frequent one, without doubt, has been 'How do you get your ideas?' Most people seem to think that getting an idea is both mysterious and simple. Mysterious, because inspiration must come from a particular state of grace with which only the most gifted souls are blessed. Simple, because ideas are expected to drop into one's mind in words and pictures, ready to be transcribed and copied in the form of a book, complete with endpapers and cover. The word get expresses these expectations well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

"It is true that, from time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge. The sense of instant recognition with which we pull this image into the full light of our consciousness is the initial impulse of all creative acts. But, though it is important, it produces no more than the germ of an idea. Each book, at the birth of its creative history, has such a moment. Some are fortunate enough to have, from the outset, a strongly identified hero, one with an inescapable destiny. Others are blessed with a promising beginning, or perhaps with the vision of an ending (which means working backwards to a surprise opening). Others stem from a clearly articulated conflict situation. Sometimes, I must admit, the motivations of a book may be found in a sudden, unreasonable urge to draw a certain kind of crocodile. And it may even happen that in the dark of our minds there appears, out of nowhere, a constellation of words that has the bright, arrogant solidity of a title. Only last night I was jolted out of a near-slumber by the words the mouse that didn't exist. I am sure that, temporarily tucked away in my memory, they will eventually become the title of a story for which as yet I have no idea.

"To shape and sharpen the logic of a story, to tighten the flow of events, ultimately to define the idea in its totality, is much like a game of chess. In the light of overall strategy, each move is the result of doubts, proposals, and rejections, which inevitably bring to mind the successes or failures of previous experiences.

"Inspirational raptures may happen, but most books are shaped through hard, disciplined work. Creative work, to be sure, because its ingredients come from the sphere of the imaginary. But the manipulation of these ingredients requires much more than mere inclination or talent. It is an intricate process in which the idea slowly takes form, by trial and error, through detours and side roads, which, were it not for the guidance of professional rigor, would lead the author into an inextricable labyrinth of alternatives.

"And so, to the question 'How do you get your ideas?' I am tempted to answer, unromantic though it may sound, 'Hard work.' "


Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations, and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland in 1910 of Dutch parents, and although his education did not include formal art courses (in fact, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa), he spent much of his free time as a child in Amsterdam's museums, teaching himself to draw.

Lionni's business training gradually receded into the background as his interest in art and design grew. Having settled in Milan soon after his marriage in 1931, he started off by writing about European architecture for a local magazine. It was there that he met the contacts who were to give him a start as a professional graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia advertising agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist flourished as he began to exhibit his paintings and drawings in galleries from New York to Japan.

Lionni launched his career as an author/illustrator of books for children in 1959. Originally developed from a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a dull train ride, Little Blue and LittleYellow was the first of what is now a long list of children's picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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A beautiful story with imaginative illustrations.
K.Cunningham
Willy tells Alexander how loved he is by the little girl who owns him which makes Alexander wish he was a wind-up mouse as well.
Paige
My children love hearing this book read over and over again.
Sandra Hayduk Sopko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By slomamma on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love Leo Lionni's books. His gentle fables and parables deal with some of the most important lessons children need to learn - about friendship, generosity, and being true to yourself. They're deeply moral books, but they never preach or oversimplify.
This is one of Lionni's deepest and most moving books. In it, Alexander, a despised house mouse meets another mouse - a child's beloved wind-up toy. The contrast between Alexander's unhappy life and the life of the pampered toy mouse makes him feel so sorry for himself that he misses important clues that life is not so great for the wind-up mouse after all. When he learns about a way to earn a magic wish, he realizes he can use it to turn himself into a toy. But before he's able to accomplish his goal, he finds the wind-up in the garbage. He uses his wish to turn the wind-up into a real mouse.
Alexander learns that the most important thing is to be true to himself, not turn himself into what others want. But in doing so, he also reaches out to help someone else.
You may read this book dozens, even hundreds, of times before a child picks up the nuances of that message. But the key is that most children will ask to hear the story that many times, and most adults will love it so much they won't mind repeating it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By emilie on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I believe that Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni is an outstanding work of children's literature. It is a Caldecott Honor Book, which I thoroughly enjoyed on several levels. When it comes to characterization, this story would definitely be appropriate for young children. Each character is easy to identify. Alexander is dark gray and a little "rough around the edges". Although when it comes to size, shape, and color he and Willy (the wind-up mouse) are similar, it is not difficult to tell them apart. Besides the obvious traits Willy possesses, such as having wheels for feet and a crank sticking out of his back, he is also a little smaller than Alexander. Willy's body is smoother as well whereas Alexander's is fairly rugged.

The whole book is told from the perspective of two tiny mice. The reader gets to see how huge and scary everyday objects, like a spoon or a broom, can be from the point of view of a mouse. The stuffed animals are enormous. The red boots appear to be mansions for the mice to play in. I especially like the illustration of Willy and Alexander standing under the kitchen table. All we see of the table is one leg and the bottom of the table cloth. There is also one of Annie's dolls laying in the background that looks absolutely gigantic in comparison to the two friends.

Lionni does a dazzling job placing "life sized" objects in the background of each scene throughout the story to make sure the reader realistically understands how minuscule the two mice are in contrast to the environment in which they live. He also uses lots of fun wild wall paper in creative ways as his artisitic media to create his illustrations.

On the page when Alexander meets Willy there are oodles of brilliant colors and exhilarating patterns.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dennis J. Buckley on March 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
Alexander the mouse finds a friend to end his loneliness-- Willy the wind up mouse. When Willy is about to be thrown away, Alexander makes a selfless decision, and with the help of a magic lizard saves his friend.
This is a wonderful little story filled with magic and friendship. It can be read in such a way (with plenty of drama and mystery surrounding the lizard) so as to captivate a young reader. Its happy ending makes it a good bedtime book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hetling on March 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant book, with a perfect heartwarming story surrounded by imaginative and beautiful illustrations.

Alexander is a mouse with some typical mouse problems. Specifically, every time he pokes his nose out of his hiding spot, the people who live in the house throw things at him and make him feel bad about himself. He is also very lonely. When he meets Willy, a wind-up mouse owned by the daughter of the human family, he thinks he has found a friend at last. Willy and Alexander spend many nights talking about their different lives. Willy is loved by everyone in the house, although he cannot move without being wound up. When Alexander hears about a magic lizard that has the power to change him into a wind-up mouse, he thinks he is in luck. But a twist at the ending gives the reader lots to think about, in terms of being happy with the life you've got, the strings that come with dependence, and the things that we do for friendship.

I loved this book because it has touching and believable characters who seem to have more depth than the average picture book characters, and because it brings magical elements into a familiar household setting in a believable way that will have toddlers on the lookout for magical lizards and talking mice.

The picture are also terrific, a very distinctive style that gives the book a special atmosphere all its own.

Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By csm TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
We've had to read this book many, many times to our little one. The adventures of Alexander and his new friend, Willie the windup mouse is just very sweet. It teaches children about friendship, being a true friend, and also, being there to help that friend even though you may be giving up something that you want in doing so. It's very sweet how the story ends with Willie becoming a real mouse because of Alexander's unselfishness (or was it really?). Alexander has a new playmate because he was willing to give up being a windup mouse so his friend wound not go into the trash. Just a very cute story and, to be honest, I couldn't resist saying, "here Lizard Lizard" when coming to the part of the lizard (remember the Taco Bell commercials with the dog saying that regarding Godzilla?). It made for a great laugh by all and now, my little one always asks me to say that when we come to that part of the story. Great imagination builder.
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