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Frederick's Fables : A Treasury of 16 Favorite Leo Lionni Stories Hardcover – September 23, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Revised edition (September 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679888268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679888260
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When award-winning author and illustrator Leo Lionni was young, he answered the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with a thoroughly unique reply: "The bell of the trolley car." He continued taking the nontraditional approach to life, writing his first children's book at age 50. Since then, he has written 39 more books, 16 of which appear (partially illustrated) in this lovely treasury, which includes a personal introduction by the author. The collection features such enduring, endearing favorites as Frederick, Fish Is Fish, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, Cornelius, Swimmy, A Color of His Own, and Six Crows. The texts are included in their unabridged forms, illustrated by a representative selection of Lionni's ever playful watercolors and bold paper cutouts.

In his introduction, Lionni notes an affinity with the titular character from the Caldecott Honor recipient Swimmy. In this uplifting tale of ichthyic teamwork, a school of tiny fish swims in formation to look like a large, formidable predator. "I'll be the eye," Swimmy volunteers. Indeed, Lionni has "been the eye" for countless delighted children, translating his astute social vision into meaningful stories and beautiful illustrations featuring field mice, crocodiles, frogs, and chameleons. To have a sampling of so many of Lionni's enchanting creations together in one book is truly a gift--you'll be as happy as we are that he didn't pursue the trolley-bell thing. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis

From the Inside Flap

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Frederick, Knopf is pleased to issue an expanded collector's edition of Leo Lionni's timeless tales that celebrate the power of imagination and the human spirit. With the addition of three new titles--Matthew's Dream, An Extraordinary Egg, and Six Crows--this magnificent treasury now contains 16 unabridged stories, including three Caldecott Honor books and Lionni's inimitable full-color artwork gracing every page. Add a striking new cover and a fascinating introduction by the author, and this is a volume no Lionni fan will want to be without.

In a pointer review of the 1985 edition, Kirkus Reviews said, "Lionni's stories are simple and elegant, his pictures are nothing short of stunning. Splashy colors, inventive collages, whimsy, and a sense of wonder are all here in abundance. A splendid collection...not to be missed."  

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

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Lionni's original books are breathtaking classics -- wonderful stories that carefully pace each line with gorgeous succulent visuals. But this 'treasury' chops out more than half the original pictures, omitting favorite images, destroying the page-turning pace and in some cases the stories no longer even make sense. This 'treasury' is no bargain -- you'd be better off with one or two of the original unabridged masterpieces. I yearned to see the beautiful 2-page art of "a forest of seaweeds growing from sugar-candy rocks" in _Swimmy_ but was sad to find it missing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm glad for the compilation.

It's true that they took out some images from his stories. However, this is something you see in *all* compilations, otherwise they wouldn't be any cheaper than buying the books separately and they'd be huge, too! So either they take out whole pages, text and all; or they cut the images down so you can hardly see them; or they do as they did here - they keep the text intact and the pictures the right size, but take out some images.

And you know what? I can live with that.

Is it a perfect solution? Nothing is. I suggest any book you're *really* attached to, you buy separately so you have it intact.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This compilation of stories is completely delightful. They warm your heart and put a smile on your face. My husband used to read them to me when I was SO pregnant I could not sleep. And now we continue to read them to our wonderful daughter Lucy. I get this book as a present for all my pregnant friends. It is a must for your collection.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite"children's" books with so much to be pondered by all who read. The simple stories carry with them true lessons for all to observe.
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By Karen on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The art teacher in my K-4 building requested this be added to our library. It has beautiful images and includes many of Leo Lionni's works. A great addition to any collection.
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