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FREDERICK by Leo Lionni Kirkus Star


illustrated by Leo Lionni & translated by Teresa Mlawer

Pub Date: April 14th, 1967
ISBN: 1930332815
Publisher: Pantheon

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. When the mice are snowed in, when all the nuts and berries and corn are gone, Frederick produces his supplies; evocations of the sun and the spectrum, and a poem telling of the four field mice who live in the sky: "One is the Springmouse who turns on the showers. Then comes the Summer who paints in the flowers. The Fallmouse is next with walnuts and wheat. And Winter is last with little cold feet." "But Frederick," the mice chorus, "you are a poet." Frederick blushes, and says shyly, "I know it." 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.