Frederick by Leo Lionni
Summary Frederick is a mouse that lives with his mouse family in a stone wall. All the mice work to gather food for winter, except for Frederick. Instead, Frederick says he is gathering sunshine, colors, and words. When winter comes and the mice run out of food, Frederick makes everyone happy by describing the sun’s warmth, brilliant colors, and reciting a poem.
How do I relate to a passage in Frederick “ ‘Who scatters snowflakes? Who melts the ice? Who spoils the weather? Who makes it nice? Who grows the four leaf clovers in June? Who dims that daylight? Who lights the moon? Four little mice who live in the sky. Four little mice like you and I. Spring is first with April showers. Summer next with fragrant flowers. Then comes Fall with nuts and wheat. And Winter last with chilly feet. Aren’t we lucky the seasons are four? Think of a year with one less, or one more.’ They cheered. ‘But Frederick,’ they said, ‘you’re a poet!’ Frederick blushed, took a bow, and said shyly, ‘I know it’. ” I read Frederick when I was a child, but it wasn’t until I read Frederick to a family I babysit, did I get a strong meaning from it. This specific passage really stuck out to me. I soon acquired an appreciation for poetry, starting with this passage. Frederick, along with my English classes, really inspired me to write my own poetry and to be proud of my work.
How do I think the book connects with others? “ ‘Close your eyes,’ said Frederick. ‘Now I send you that rays of the sun. Do you feel how their golden glows?’ And as Frederick spoke of the sun, the four little mice began to feel warmer. Was it Frederick’s voice? Was it magic? ‘And how about the colors?’ they asked Frederick anxiously. ‘Close you eyes again,’ Frederick said. And when he told them of the blue periwinkles, the red poppies, and the yellow wheat, and the green leaves of the berry bush, they saw the colors as clearly as if they’d been painted in their minds. ” Frederick the mouse connects with others in many different ways, but one that I feel many children get from the book has to deal with making others happy, or being made happy by someone else, during dreary weather and/or sad times. I would then ask the students: What have you done to make someone happy? or What has someone done for you that has cheered you up?
How does this text relate to the world? This book connects with the world by showing that everyone has their job, their purpose. That job might not be as obvious to you, or you might not understand it, but it still has meaning. “ ‘Frederick, why don’t you work?’ they ask. ‘I do works,’ said Frederick. ‘I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days.’ And when they saw Frederick sitting there, staring at the meadow, they said ‘And now Frederick?’ ‘I gather colors,’ Frederick said simply. ‘For winter is gray.’ And once, Frederick seemed half asleep. ‘Are you dreaming Frederick?’ the asked reproachfully. But Frederick said, ‘Oh no, I am gathering words, for the winter days are long and many.’ ”
I could bring creativity, self-expression, and an appreciation for literature into perspective to the students by emphasizing the ending of the book. At the end, the other mice celebrate Frederick’s poetry. To encourage the perspectives mentioned earlier, I would have the students create acrostic poems to describe a season. First, I would explain that an acrostic poem uses the letter s in a word to begin each line, and that all of the lines in the poem should describe the topic. Then, as a class, we would create a list of words to describe the seasons and the weather during them. I would give them an example: They will then choose a season and create their own poem based on that season using the words the class came up with, or ones that they thought of on their own. These poems can then be read in class and proudly displayed in the hall. F A L L irst frost pple harvesting abor Day eaves change color