Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni

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Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: A lovely story of friendship, hope and accepting yourself as you are.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Andersen Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849397056

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When I saw Leo Lionni's name on this book, I couldn't snatch it up quickly enough. Leo Lionni began writing children's books in the early '60s and many of his were childhood favourites of mine. After having spent a fortune tracking down two out of print books of his, I am overjoyed to find one of his wonderful books is once again in print. Lionni had perfectly captured the magic of collage-style illustrations years before Eric Carle came onto the scene, and has such beautiful, timeless stories. His stories are always fun and entertaining, but they carry messages of hope and kindness as well. They seem to have captured all the yearning for peace of the era in which they were written, and the very best of human emotions without ever being preachy or twee. In my opinion, Lionni was one of the best children's authors of all time. He wrote books that fed the soul.

Alexander and the Windup Mouse was first published in 1969. It is the story of two friends. Alexander is a real mouse, but his only friend is wind up mouse Willy. Alexander wants nothing more than to be a wind-up mouse just like Willy. He knows Willy cannot even move without his key being wound, but Willy is loved by the child in the house while Alexander is feared and despised by the humans. More than anything else, Alexander wants to be loved, so he goes on a quest for a magic pebble that will allow him one wish. When at last he finds his stone, disaster strikes. The child has had a birthday party and discarded Willy in favour of the new toys. Alexander must choose between making a wish for himself, and saving his only friend. He chooses to be unselfish, and in so doing he finds the one thing he has wanted most of all - the love of a true friend.

I can still remember a teacher reading this to us in school when I was perhaps 5 years of age. Considering the number of books I went through as a child, it is quite a compliment to the author's ability that I would remember it so many years later. I enjoyed reading this to my son as much as I enjoyed listening to it as a child. I was delighted to see that he enjoyed the story as much as I did. As he does have a slight mischievous streak, he thoroughly enjoyed the lady of the house screaming at the sight of Alexander, but the lizard was his very favourite part of the book. He was fascinated by the simple but captivating illustrations, so much so that I immediately ordered tissue paper and other supplies so we can make our own collage art. In addition to being such a fun book to read, this also has a gentle message: to find a friend, we must be a friend, and when we seek to make others happy, we often find happiness ourselves. It also very subtly shows that we should value ourselves as we are. If Alexander had been able to change himself, he would never have been able to help his friend. This is a feel-good story that I feel is perfect for bedtime. It leaves the reader and listener with a sense of warmth, love and happiness. I can't think of a better way to end the day.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy:

Just Right for Two by Tracey Corderoy and Rosalind Beardshaw

Little Grey Donkey by Nicole Snitselaar and Coralie Saudo

Frederick by Leo Lionni

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Buy Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni at


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