Books by Leo Lionni

Released: April 17, 1997

"Though Lionni's prose is not as accomplished as his visual work, his autobiography inspires admiration that the artist has tried—and largely succeeded—in yet another form."
An uneven but rewarding autobiography that records not only how this artist has lived, but, at its best, how he sees. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1994

"Just the thing to lighten up a picture-book hour. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Jessica is a fancier of stones and pebbles, but her friends Marilyn and August, also frogs, don't share her enthusiasm until she turns up with what Marilyn, "who knew everything about everything," identifies as a "chicken egg." Read full book review >
MR. McMOUSE by Leo Lionni
by Leo Lionni, illustrated by Leo Lionni
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"Still, it's told with style and good humor, while the art of this three-time Caldecott Honor winner is always of interest. (Picture book. 3-7)"
When Timothy (a typical Lionni mouse) looks in the mirror, he's startled to see a stranger in black who looks a lot like a businessman with a tail. Read full book review >
A BUSY YEAR by Leo Lionni
by Leo Lionni, illustrated by Leo Lionni
Released: April 1, 1992

"Still, nice. (Picture book. 3-8)"
This tall, thin book opens to nearly square spreads that nicely accommodate collages of two mice and their friend, a fruit tree that talks. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1991

"An attractive reiteration of an important theme."
A classic Lionni mouse (torn paper, pink ears) visits a museum, dreams about entering the marvelous, varied paintings, and realizes that his destiny is to be an artist. Read full book review >
Released: March 10, 1989

"Bold and colorful, these are perfect for sharing with a group."
The much-honored illustrator continues his exploration of reconciliation with another fable. Read full book review >
IT'S MINE! by Leo Lionni
Released: March 24, 1986

"Overall, the art lacks the wit of Frederick and the extravagance of Swimmy and Inch by Inch, but suits the story well."
Another sweetly didactic picture book in Lionni's familiar, brightly colored collage style. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1985

"Not to be missed."
A splendid collection of some of Lionni's best-known and best-loved works. Read full book review >
CORNELIUS by Leo Lionni
illustrated by Leo Lionni
Released: March 15, 1983

"A neat little turnabout, simply pictured in jungle-patterned collage."
There are visual and thematic echoes of lots of old Lionni books (and others) in the story of little crocodile Cornelius, who walks out of his shell upright—but, contrary to fable-precedent and picture-book practice, Cornelius isn't brought down for being different from other crocs. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1979

"The question, though, is whether it got there by legitimate means or outright contrivance."
Can a mouse play music on its tail like a flute? Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1977

"Among the deadpan disquisitions, the imposing gibberish (intuitive codification, fluctuations of ozonoferous density), and the incongruous examples (bagels, gypsy music) are Lionni's cunning illustrations—a garden of unearthly delights, richly ambiguous, rooted in mischief."
What Linnaeus overlooked Lionni has undertaken, teasing a new academic discipline out of his wily imagination. Read full book review >
FLEA STORY by Leo Lionni
Released: Aug. 22, 1977

"All in all, a bit of fun but not one of Lionni's more enticing creations."
The whole story is a balloon-enclosed dialogue between two unseen fleas, one of whom is eager to explore the world while the other prefers to stay put. Read full book review >
A COLOR OF HIS OWN by Leo Lionni
illustrated by Leo Lionni, edited by Simon Boughton
Released: April 26, 1976

"Alike yes—but nothing like Frederick, Swimmy, or Little Yellow."
You'd think the chameleon's ability to change his hue would afford a splendid chance for a dazzling Lionni display, and even his engaging little story—of one particular chameleon who longs for a color of his own—seems designed as a backdrop. Read full book review >
PEZZETTINO by Leo Lionni
Released: Oct. 6, 1975

"A loving, lightly tendered affirmation—and, incidentally, an ideal storyboard for young film animators."
In this charming tale of Pezzettino who is so much smaller than the others that he thinks he must be a little piece of someone else, Lionni combines a common theme with a very personal treatment and, in his pictures, mixes the marbelized rocks that have become his trademark with visually abstract characters reminiscent of Little Blue and Little Yellow. Read full book review >
Released: April 12, 1975

"And children as yet innocent of the constraining original will find the story as natural and satisfying as the author intended."
Nothing less than a revision of Genesis is what Lionni is up to in this liberating fable (with just a hint as well of Peter Rabbit) about two little rabbits who are warned not to eat apples from the tree (or "the fox will get you") but who, in their father's absence, are induced to do so by a serpent who not only picks them the ripest apples but also plays with them and even chases the fox away. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 17, 1973

"Even though Frederick the poet remains the Lionni mouse with the sharpest message and most appealing personality, The Greentail Mouse has a simple, satisfying plot, some nicely modulated mood changes, and pictures that 'reflect and serve the story more organically than some of Lionni's more spectacular collages."
In Lionni's fourth mouse fable his familiar little gray rodent is set against still a fourth distinctive background — this one not collage but double-page textured paintings in orange-browns and blues, subdued to match the "quietest corner of the Willshire woods" where % community of field mice lived a peaceful life." Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 15, 1971

"Lionni's collages in earthy browns and greens (except for the mushrooms) are more restrained than his backgrounds for Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse (1969) and subtler in their interplay of artifice and nature."
When timid, inconsequential Theodore (a close cousin to Frederick and Alexander) discovers a blue mushroom that says "quirk," he convinces his friends—a lizard, a turtle, and a frog—that this is the Mushroom of Truth, "the only one in the whole world," and that "quirk" means "that the mouse should be venerated above all other animals." Read full book review >
FISH IS FISH by Leo Lionni
Released: Oct. 12, 1970

"Slight, but worth seeing for the outraged look in the eye of the left-behind minnow and the nifty cowfish he conjures up."
You are what you are. . . if you're a fish not a tadpole. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 12, 1969

"Still, a little of Alexander and Willy is better than none."
It's the turn this very ordinary plot takes that makes all the difference: envying Willy the wind-up mouse bemuse he's loved not chased, Alexander arranges with the magic lizard to be transformed into a toy too—until Willy is discarded and Alexander, thinking fast, determines that the wind-up should become a real mouse instead. Read full book review >
Released: April 17, 1968

"It's a lesson that youngsters are likely to like with images they're sure to remember."
A billowing green cabbage plant, a many-splendored snail shell that becomes a cracked and gaping ruin, and a startling ground-level landscape accompany a young snail's education in the perils of being overburdened, the pleasures of maintaining mobility. Read full book review >
FREDERICK by Leo Lionni
Kirkus Star
illustrated by Leo Lionni, translated by Teresa Mlawer
Released: April 14, 1967

"The conclusion may disappoint children who expect something snappier but the medium mandates the message—an old stone wall in subtle striated shades bordering a flowering field; rotund mice with big expressive eyes; a golden brown harvest of nuts and wheat; the becomingly blushing Frederick bowing at the end—all evoked with Mr. Lionni's customary expertise."
Words sustain where substance fails —specifically, the "golden glow" of the sun, the colors of the summer countryside, recalled by Frederick, the sedentary mouse, who prepares for winter by gathering impressions while his cohorts are busy gathering supplies. Read full book review >
Released: July 10, 1959

"A somewhat slight idea, but one which should delight the whimsical minded young reader with its lighthanded fluency."
Two little blobs of color, one yellow and one blue, are extremely close friends. Read full book review >