Leo Lionni, an internationally known designer, illustrator, and graphic artist, was born in Holland and lived in Italy until he came to the United States in 1939. He was the recipient of the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was honored posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators' Lifetime Achievement Award. His picture books are distinguished by their enduring moral themes, graphic simplicity and brilliant use of collage, and include four Caldecott Honor Books- Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Hailed as "a master of the simple fable" by the Chicago Tribune, he died in 1999 at the age of 89. From the Hardcover edition.
K-Gr 3 The mice community is angered by the birds who continually pick the sweetest berries, while the mice are left with the unripened ones. When Nicholas goes in search of a berry patch unscathed by birds, he is snatched up by a large black bird, falls into a nest sheltering three baby birds, becomes friendly with them, and finally returns to his fellow mice, telling them of the good deeds of the bird family. The large white pages are filled with Lionni's marbleized, textured, and color paper collages. The green foliage provides a satisfying brightness to the grays, browns, and blacks. His mice and birds are well developed and multi-dimensional with their sharp-lined shapes and body parts. Facial expressions of anger and confusion are particularly effective. The text is composed of brief sentences that aptly support each page of action. The story is a little heavy-handed in its message (i.e., the final scene in which one mouse says, ``One bad bird doesn't make a flock'')a saccharine ending to an otherwise delightful story. The book has potential for prompting classroom discussions. Mary Beth Burgoyne, Mesa Public Library, Ariz.
A rich story both in appearance and theme. Even preschoolers can have a book discussion about this one. --Booklist
[Lionni] creates a world of adventure and consequence from a wonderously minimal set of objects and words. --Publishers Weekly A fine, cheerful example of an ethical, philosophical idea cast as a delightful picture book. --The Horn Book Magazine A delightful story. The book has potential for prompting classroom discussions. --School Library Journal