Written By: Leo Lionni
Explore Illustrations and Text:
Take time to look over the front cover and the illustrations throughout the book with your child. Ask your child questions about what they think will happen by asking:
What do you see on the cover?
What do you think will happen in the story?
Why do you think these mice are working so hard?
Does it look like Frederick is doing any work?
Tell your child that the book you are about to read is a fable, or a short story that usually uses animals to teach a lesson. Explain that a lesson might be something like, “Be nice to others,” and come up with other lessons that are important to you and your child. Ask your child to name other fables s/he has read or heard, or, for younger kids, remind them of others you have read together. Examples include The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Tortoise and the Hare. Give a quick review of these fables and ask, “What lessons do these fables teach us?”
As You Read
While reading, encourage your child to pause when they come across an unfamiliar word. Allow them to guess its meaning from words and illustrations surrounding it. Some examples of new words in Frederick include:
Connect what your child is reading to their life by asking, “ Does this part of the story remind you of something in your life or something from another book that you have read?” For example, when the mice help each other to collect supplies for the winter, ask your child, “Can you think of a time when you and your friends worked together to get something done?”
To ensure comprehension, ask your child these questions about the story:
What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
What surprised you about the book?
A “setting” is where a story takes place. What is the setting of this story?
Why were Frederick’s friends upset with him in the beginning of the story?
How did Frederick help his friends at the end of the story?
What were Frederick’s poems about? How did they make the mice feel?
This story provides a great opportunity to discuss community and teamwork with your child. Ask your child, “How did they work together to store food for the winter? Do you think that one mouse could have done all of that work by his/herself?” You can also show the importance of imagination by asking, “Frederick didn’t look like he was helping prepare for the winter but he really was! How did he use words and imagination to help his friends?” You can also discuss how it looked like Frederick wasn’t working or contributing, but it turns out he contributed in an atypical way. How did he contribute? Then, discuss the many different ways your child can contribute to doing important work in your home, school, and beyond.
Activities: Frederick the Pebble Mouse
Supplies: Five ovular pebbles, black and white paint, a paintbrush, grey felt, glue, and white paper. Using these supplies, you can play out the story of Frederick and his friends!
Step One: Create Frederick and His Friends
Take your five pebbles and draw on faces using the black and white paint. Next cut out ears and tails from the grey felt and glue them onto the pebbles. You can add felt eyelids to the Frederick pebble to make him stand out.
Step Two: Create a Landscape
Use different shades of grey to create a rocky background for Frederick and the other mice to work on.
Now your child is ready to retell the story of Frederick in a fun and interactive way!
[Source: Kitchen Counter Chronicle]