Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse

ISBN: 0394809149
ISBN 13: 9780394809144
By: Leo Lionni

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Caldecott Children Children's Children's Books Childrens Childrens Books Friendship Picture Book Picture Books To Read

About this book

Everyone loves Willy the wind-up mouse, while Alexander the real mouse is chased away with brooms and mousetraps. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be loved and cuddled, thinks Alexander, and he wishes he could be a wind-up mouse too. In this gentle fable about a real mouse and a mechanical mouse, Leo Lionni explores the magic of friendship. Originally published in 1969, the Caldecott Honor-winning Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse is sure to enchant a whole new generation of readers.

Reader's Thoughts

Mayra Martinez

This book is about a mouse named Alexander who lives in a rat hole at a house, every time the people see him they always start to try to hit him with a broom. One day he met a wind up mouse that was the toy of the little girl from the house. Alexander felt envy that the wind up mouse was treated better than he was. He wished he could be a wind up mouse, the toy told him about a magic lizard. Alexander went to see the lizard because he wanted to be a wind up mouse. He needed a purple pebble so the lizard could grant him the wish. One day he saw that the wind up mouse was in a box because the little girl got new toys and she was going to get rid of some of her old toys. Alexander felt sad, but at the same time happy because he found the purple pebble. He went back to see the magic lizard, but his wish was that the wind up mouse will be real. When he got home his friend was there and they were very happy to be together.


Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse / written and illustrated by Leo Lionni (1969) -- SUMMARY: Alexander, the mouse, makes friends with Willy, a toy mouse, and wants to be just like him until Alexander discovers that Willy is to be thrown away. Caldecott Honor Book Award. COMMENTS: A classic Lionni tale that has long been a favorite of mine. CURRICULUM: Easily adaptable to story hour, my favorite format being flannel board format. Collage images are simple and alluring and can easily be adapted for an accompanying craft. Check with local interior designer for old sample books to create colorful lizards. You can also recycle old greeting cards to create treasure boxes. Give everyone a purple pebble (I found sacks of them at pet stores for fish tanks). Talk about wishing and if you had one wish to make on a purple pebble, what would your wish be.


Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse is told from the point of view of the day in the life of a mouse. Throughout the entire story images are displayed in proportion to the typical size of a mouse which provides the reader with a reasonable understanding for how a mouse views life. The pictures in this story vary in how they were displayed. At times there may have been only two or three items on a page which then left a lot of empty white space and seemed somewhat boring. Other times, however, the illustrator took advantage of the space and used it to the fullest covering every spot possible. The color patterns that were used in this book were also quite interesting. In the beginning many of the colors that were being used were different tones of browns, reds, and yellows. As the story continued colors then started to change into cooler blues, blacks, and greens until eventually there was a burst of bright colors which definately caught my attention. It was also noticable that the Lionni never fully colored a page completely. He always had a white bubble around his text which made it easy to find and to focus on.


I love Leo Lionni's mice. They are sooooo cute! I want a stuffed one but anyway. Alexander is a mouse and one day he meets Willy the wind up mouse. Annie loves Willy and Alexander is jealous because Willy is treated so well but people chase Alexander with a broom. So, Alexander goes to see a lizard to find out how he can become a wind up mouse.1970 Caldecott Honor Book--It was beaten out by Sylvester and the Magic Pebble which has great art but I'm kind of partial to Leo Lionni. I have not seen the other books nominated which are Goggles, Pop Corn and Ma Goodness, Thy Friend, Obadiah, and The Judge


Alexander and the wind up mouse is about a littler mouse who was lonely and lived in a hole in the wall of a house full of people who shooed him away and were scared of him. He came across a wind up mouse toy and they became friends. They told each other stories of their lives and what they experience every day. Alexander wanted to become a wind up mouse so that the child would love him too and he would be able to be in the house without the people being afraid of him. He went looking for a magic lizard to change him into a toy but through different events he got something better instead. I would use this book in a second or third grade classroom as part of a writing lesson plan. I would read the book to the children then have them write a short story about one of their toys becoming real or coming to life and what the toy would do once it was alive.


Alexander the mouse is jealous of the affection Willy the wind-up mouse gets so he approaches the lizard in the garden who has the power to change animals into other animals hoping he will be able to become a beloved wind-up mouse. The lizard requires a purple pebble as payment for his services and Alexander searches high and low and eventually finds a purple pebble. By that time, however, Alexander has decided he doesn't want to be a wind-up mouse anymore because he found Willy discarded in a box of old toys, so he wishes that his friend will become a real mouse. Poof! his wish is granted and the two friends live happily ever after. Papercut illustrations support the story.


I felt as though this book was cute and filled with the idea of friendship and loyalty. Having Alexander meet a wind-up mouse whose name is Willy is creative. When Alexander is told that Willy himself cannot move without being wound-up he goes off to the lizard for help to make his friend become a regular alive mouse. The lizard than informs Alexander that he needs to obtain one purple pebble and bring it to the lizard when there is a full moon to switch Willy from a win-up mouse to an alive mouse. Alexander jumps at this opportunity and spends a vast amount of the time in the book looking for this purple pebble. After finding the purple pebble he takes it to the lizard who then asks Willy what he wants to change into. He informs the lizard of his wish for Willy and all of the sudden light flashes and his purple pebble disappear. When Alexander arrives home, he realizes that the box that Willy is normally in is empty and Willy is nowhere to be found. At last, Alexander hears a sound and out comes Willy who was changed into a real mouse! They become great friends and dance off into the garden together!This book shows the love that friends can have for one another and that if you work together you can accomplish anything! The length of this book is perfect and the illustrations show great detail. If I were to personally read this book in an elementary school, I would probably choose a 1st or 2nd grade class.


I really love this book! Alexander makes the Wind -up mouse into a real mouse after the little girl got new toys for her birthday and did not want him anymore. I thought the book was so nice because it had a relly happy ending. When I was young I always were afraid that my stuffed animals could feel pain or something because I thought they were alive, so i took really good care of them. I believe that a lot of children can imagine that their stuffed animals are alive and this book can be a cute story to read with the children in the kindergarten about how to take care of their things.


This was a cute book about friendship and how you will make friends that are different from you. In the novel, he finds out that there is a wind-up mouse upstairs that doesn’t live in the dark at night and everyone loves him. For a while, he really wanted to be the wind-up mouse until he realizes that he has a special gift that the wind-up mouse doesn’t have—legs. The wind-up mouse can only move when people wind him up. One day, the wind-up mouse tells Alexander that there is a Lizard in the yard that can change you into anything you want to be, so he went to visit him. The lizard made him go on a hunt for a purple pebble but when he came back he wished that Willy—the wind up mouse—could have legs just like him so that they could be even better friends and play together. I thought this book was adorable for a short read about friendship. I recommend it for first graders because some of the terms are a little tricky for Kindergarten.


Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse was so good I wanted to throw all of our copies of the Velveteen Rabbit into the fire -- which really isn't a half-bad story in its own right. Unfortunately, we don't have a fireplace. I'll bet if we had a fireplace my wife wouldn't let me use it, because she'd think I wouldn't use it responsibly. I wish I could find a wind-up mouse to love me.


A favourite from childhood.

Paul Candeias

This is a cute little story about the power of friendship between a real mouse and a wind-up toy mouse. The real mouse wants to help the wind-up mouse become a real mouse so he goes to the lizard for help. The lizard lets him know that he need a special purple stone to change his friend. Once he gets the stone his friend is transformed into a real mouse. I liked the book because it really show children the power of friendship and the lengths someone is willing to go to for a friend.Lesson: I would have the children create their own colored stone and share what they would do with the stone to help one of their friends/classmates.

Cheryl in CC NV

I have trouble with stories that start out seemingly based in the real world, and then just dump implausible magic on us. This story is just odd that way. I prefer The Velveteen Rabbit - this edition especially: . Who knows - in 1969, maybe Lionni was trippin' (only secondhand, of course :). But I do love his artwork, and as other reviewers have said, I want a stuffed Lionni mouse of my own to cuddle!


This is a cute story of a mouse who is understandably not liked by the humans of the house. Yet, the little boy has a toy mouse that he loves. The toy and the mouse become friends. Alexander longs to be a toy mouse just like his friend so he can be loved.One day he finds his friend the toy mouse in a box of other toys that are to be discarded. The boy has outgrown the toy mouse. Alexander goes to the lizard who grants him one wish . . . no, not to become a toy mouse but to have the toy mouse become a real mouse so they can continue being friends.Cute.I particularly like the illustrations that accompany the story.

joanna Sondheim

A slightly off beat fable, featuring Leo Lionni's grey and white collaged mice. The book is made entirely by collage, with gorgeous printed cutouts interspersing and his frequently used wide-eyed mice. Alexander is a mouse who is tired of constantly dealing with the shrieks and broom swats from the humans who's house he resides in. When he notices how beloved a wind-up toy mouse is to the young girl who lives there, he decides he wants to find a way to turn himself into a toy. A magic lizard in the forest tells him that if he brings him a purple pebble, he can transform him into a wind-up mouse. Alexander sets out and finds the pebble nestled near a box of discarded toys. One of those toys is the same wind-up mouse that had previously been so loved. Struck by this, Alexander decides to use the lizard's magic to transform the wind-up mouse into a real one like himself, and the result is that upon his return home, he finds a new friend, Willy, waiting for him.

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