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Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (Step Into Reading, Step 3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  7,108 Ratings  ·  231 Reviews
Leo Lionni’s Caldecott Honor–winning story about the magic of friendship is now available as a Step 3 Step into Reading book—perfect for children who are ready to read on their own.
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, who wishe
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 1969)
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Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 il ...more
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 ...more
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: friendship
Review: This is a great book about friendship. Alexander being a real mouse becomes friends with Willy the wind-up mouse even though they are different. This book has a great meaning and at the end both mice are happy, which makes it a good ending. Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse book can show children what others will do for friends.

Learning Experience: After reading Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, talk about what the moral of this book was, wishing. Have the students write down three things
Jennifer B.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love rodent heroes and I enjoyed this story.
Deena Lernor
Alexander is a mouse who is full of adventure. He isn’t like your ordinary mouse. He is a mouse that wants love and affection. He becomes a resident in a young girls house and befriends another mouse named Willy. Willy isn’t just any ordinary mouse; he is a wind up mouse. Through out the story Willy and Alexander talk to each other and tell each other the amazing stories about their days. While Willy and Alexander become friends, Alexander wants to become a wind up mouse like Willy. Alexander fi ...more
Alexis Caudill
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Book summary, in your own words (3 pts)
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse is a Caldecott Honor Book. It is about a mouse named Alexander who is really quite lonely and does not understand why the humans are so mean towards him. He meets a wind-up mouse named Willy who is the child’s toy. He is treated the exact opposite from Alexander. Alexander wants to be just like his friend, Willy. He is informed of a way to do so, but will Alexander do it?
2. Grade level, interest level, lexile (1 pt)
This wo
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni is a book about how Alexander the mouse made his first friend. Alexander was driven off and disliked by everyone at first. Then he met a wind-up mouse who, unlike him, was the favorite of everyone. He searched for a purple pebble so the magic lizard could turn him into a likable wind-up toy. On his way searching, he discovered that the wind-up mouse was abandoned by its owner. In the end, he decided not to turn himself into a toy; instead, he asked t ...more
Sarah Sammis
Leo Lionni was a Dutch artist who grew up in Italy but fled to the United States at the outbreak of WWII. There he worked as a graphic artist and illustrator for Fortune Magazine. He returned to Italy in the 1960s where he began a new career as the writer and illustrator of children's literature. On of his earliest books is Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse.

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse is an old childhood favorite of mine. Alexander is a mouse who lives in the wall of a home that has a little g
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott
The magic of friendship? I see this more as a story about being satisfied with who/what you are. The real mouse wants to be like the wind-up toy, but then has a last minute change of heart. (The Wizard of Willoughby Wallow is better, but it targets a slightly older audience.)

Annie gets rid of many of her old toys, including the wind-up mouse, when she gets new ones for her birthday. That left me with the impression that old is bad and new is better. The wind-up mouse went from being a favorite t
Asa Jacobs
This book is a great story of friendship between a real mouse and a toy mouse. Alexander was a mouse who wanted a few crumbs from the kitchen, but was always chased away. One day he meets a another mouse that was a little different. The other mouse was named Willy, he was a wind-up toy mouse. Willy was loved by the family and even got to sleep in bed with other toys. Alexander wanted to be loved by the family too, so he found a lizard who can turn him into a toy mouse. The boy in the family was ...more
Jon Gustafson
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of Alexander the mouse and his desire to be transformed into a wind-up mouse by the magical lizard in the bush. Alexander wants to be loved as a wind-up toy rather than hunted with mouse traps and chased with brooms. The illustration is full of powerful textures and shows readers what the world looks like from a mouses' perspective. Alexander changes his mind and decides to ask the lizard to transform his friend Willy the wind-up mouse into a real mouse instead because ...more
I usually like Leo Lionni, but something about this one just bothered me. When I was younger, I would have sympathized with poor Alexander the mouse who just wants to eat a few crumbs but can't because the humans scream for help and chase him with a broom when they see him. As an adult, I felt sympathy for the poor humans who had a mouse in their house! I also didn't find it very believable that a child would cuddle with a wind-up mouse on their pillow at night.

I do like the illustrations, thou
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story has a good moral: you may not actually want to be different from what you are and it is kind to share.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
Dad read to us..krb 12/1/16
Cassandra Gelvin
It's better to be hated than to be trapped forever in an immortal, immobile body.

It's a very didactic book. There's a mouse named Alexander, and people don't like him because he's a mouse and he steals people's food. Then he finds a wind-up toy mouse who is also intelligent, and the toy mouse is a little girl's favorite toy but can't move unless he's wound up. (Who knows how he manages to speak.) Alexander befriends the toy mouse, and they have conversations, and Alexander feels jealous because
Nanette Smith
1. Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Picture Book

2. Copyright date: November 12, 1969

3. Estimate of age level of interest: 5 - 8 year olds

4. Estimate of reading level: K-3rd grade

5. Brief description: Alexander, a real mouse, wants to be loved like his toy friend, Willy. He chooses to use his wish to save Willy instead.

6. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book: In this classic book, Lionni uses the ripped-pap
Rachel Herrington
This was a fun book to read, and it made me think about Toy Story. It was a really cute book. The book is about Alexander the mouse, who meets a wind-up mouse named Willy. Willy is cuddled with and everyone loves him, but everyone hates Alexander. Alexander wishes he were a wind-up mouse like Willy. One day, Alexander finds out about a magical lizard that can change him into any other animal he wanted. He went to go visit the lizard, and the lizard told him that he needed to bring him a purple p ...more
Ramon Requena
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 230
This story follows Alexander, a mouse, who cannot be in the house he gets food from without being attacked or screamed at by the owners. One, day he finds a wind-up mouse who tells him that he is happy being the toy that the boy in the house plays with. Alexander wants the same so he finds a lizard that grants wishes; at the end of the book Alexander decides to make his wind-up mouse friend into a real mouse so they can be friends as normal mice. This book is cute and does not attempt to present ...more
Leann Short
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-11-21

Alexander wishes to be a wind-up mouse. He is a cuddling little mouse and makes friends with the wind-toy. The story shows how he is swept up and almost stepped on.


This book is made for lower grades kinder through 2nd grades. This is an easy read and would allow students to use the images in order to understand the story.

Teaching Ideas

Use this windup mouse idea and allow the students to race with wind-up toys and create a graph with the results. Allow the students to make a h
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
One of my favorite children's books. Lionni really knew how to write stories that capture the imagination and also the heart.

Alexander is a little mouse that lives in the wall of the house. He is forever trying to escape getting killed while foraging for food.

He meets a toy mouse who feels comfortable and loved. Alexander decides that he wants to be a toy so he will be loved as well.

He goes to meet the mysterious lizard who can make wishes come true.

The ending does not come as Alexander planned
Margaret Chind
We were suppose to read Frederick tonight, but in our reorganization of books we weren't able to find it so we opted for this one and The Extraordinary Egg.

Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse is a neat story about the grass is greener and putting others first. It is a good one for little listeners.

We own very tattered paperback copies with no spines. Frederick is a Memoria Press Kindergarten book selection.
Katie Mahan (Rodrigues)
This book is just splendid with wonderful illustrations and a heartfelt message. Alexander is a mouse who just wants to be accepted by the family that lives in the house he inhabits. He then meets a wind up mouse toy that he soon befriends. As the story progresses, Alexander sacrifices a wish he could make for himself, and makes it for his friend instead. This fictional story is a fun read for 2nd grades, and can be used to teach about friendship and how we can show kindness to others.
Maria Rowe
• 1970 Caldecott Honor Book •

Wonderful book! I wasn’t at all surprised to learn after reading this book that Leo Lionni was a graphic designer and art director. This book is beautifully designed, and the story about friendship is really awesome as well! It’s really hard to believe this was published almost 50 years ago!

Materials used: unlisted
Typeface used: unlisted
I have always enjoyed Lionni's artwork and more so when sharing then with my young children who are also draw to the illustrations.
The story has more writing than the average picturebook but it's better for it. The dialogue between Alexander and Willy is child-like in its telling and the moment where Alexander returns to visit the wizard lizard and has his eureka moment is a moment of thought and understanding that younger children may enjoy unpicking.
This would be an okay book to use for a unit about friendship. It's a sweet story, and that's really all there is to that.

But what captured me most is are the illustrations. This book is just gorgeous with illustrations that look like torn paper and multiple kinds of papers. It's interesting and eye-catching.
Sarah Bosworth
Cute. Instead of advising us to be careful about what we wish for, this book applies it. We learn that we should think of the well-being of others and that we should also think critically before we say something or ask for something.

However, it could be argued that Alexander changed Willy against his will. He was trying to help Willy, but he never asked what Willy wanted.
Lynn  Davidson
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Alexander is a little grey mouse who lives alone in a hole in the wall. He is lonely until he meets a little wind-up mouse in the house. Alexander wishes he could be loved, too. Then he learns of a way to be just like the wind-up mouse.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book with an ear-to-ear smile on my face. Not only does it contain a lesson in being grateful of who you are, but the illustrations border on psychedelic at times, making this a page-turning delight!
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
One of the more enjoyable Leo Lionni stories. A real mouse makes friends with a toy mouse, and in a Velveteen Rabbit flavored plot, unselfishly makes a magical wish for his friend instead of himself.
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Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his
More about Leo Lionni...