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Theodore and the Talking Mushroom Hardcover – March 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375845518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375845512
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fresh and relevant fable about peer pressure, self-esteem, and the consequences of telling a whopper. The droll sponge-textured collage artwork, vocabulary-stretching language, and subtly expressed themes make this a great choice for more sophisticated picture book readers.” —School Library Journal

About the Author

Leo Lionni, an internationally known designer, illustrator, and graphic artist, was born in Holland and lived in Italy until he came to the United States in 1939. He was the recipient of the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was honored posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award. His picture books are distinguished by their enduring moral themes, graphic simplicity and brilliant use of collage, and include four Caldecott Honor Books: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Hailed as “a master of the simple fable” by the Chicago Tribune, he died in 1999 at the age of 89.

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

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A little mouse lives with talented friends: the lizard can grow a new tail, the turtle can close up. What can the little mouse do, other than run? Theodore wants to impress his friends so he tells a whopper - and trouble ensues in this believable picturebook tale.
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By Ann Azuma on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for another Swimmy or Frederick, or even Alexander, this is NOT it. The usual cute torn-paper mouse illustrations are here, but this is a weird story, and not a very happy one, either. At first I had to wonder what kind of mushroom Leonni was on when he wrote this. The story is about a mouse who finds a mushroom that "talks," or so he thinks, at least at first. Anyway, the cat`s out of the bag, and everyone thinks Theodore must be great because he discovered a mushroom that speaks, moreover, he is the only one who can understand it. Thus begins his dilemma.
I suppose this tale is a good starting point for discussions about verifying ones facts, speaking before thinking, getting carried away, the dilemma of when to speak out the truth despite the terrible outcome and accepting the consequences of one`s actions. Maybe this is not so weird, after all: just not so light-hearted as the aforementioned stories. Theodore learns an important lesson, albeit a rueful one, and the book is not devoid of humour.
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By Sarah on September 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I recently picked up this book at the library. I learned my lesson to read books before I read them to my kids. This book was awful at best... The story follows a mouse who gets laughed at and ridiculed by his friends and at the end of the story he's told hes a liar, a fake, a charlatan, a scoundrel etc...he then runs away and never sees his friends again. Definitely not a good children's book by any means.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book replaced a dull worn out copy with no book jacket.. So, the book is perfect for our collection.
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