Author and Illustrator: Leo Lionni
Publisher: Alfred A. Knoff, Inc.
Publication Year: 1967
In Frederick, a family of field mice prepares for the winter. The other field mice get upset when Frederick appears to sit around instead of gathering food like the rest of them. Instead, Frederick reports that he gathers sun rays, colors, and words for winter. When winter comes and they begin to run low on food, Frederick shares the things he has been gathering. After hearing his beautiful words, the mice see the value in Frederick's gift.
This book blurs the lines between animal fantasy and fable. The illustrations and simple plot lead the reader to quickly develop an interest for the story and a love for Frederick and his gift. Leo Lionni presents a lesson that audiences will appreciate and relate to for years to come.
Awards and Reviews:
“A charming fable, it deserves to take its place once again with other beloved Lionni favorites.” -Children’s Literature
This book received the Caldecott Honor.
The message of Frederick speaks to the gifted learner struggling with seeing the value in others or the gifted learner needing to understand the value of oneself when they seem so different. Those struggling to see the value in others' differences learn that sometimes people may surprise you. Those needing to understand the value of oneself relate to Frederick as the field mice disapprove of his behaviors, but then imagine seeing the value in their own gifts when Frederick comes through for his family.
I like to use this book to lead into discussions of each of our gifts and their values. Additionally, Leo Lionni makes a great choice for an author study in the primary classroom.