Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Young Fredle

Young Fredle

Spring 2011 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Cynthia Voigt
Illustrator: Louise Yates
ISBN: 978-0-375-96457-5
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Cynthia Voigt’s Young Fredle, is the touching coming-of-age story of Fredle the mouse. Fredle’s adventures begin when he is unexpectedly pushed from his home in the walls of a kitchen to the outside – a world absolutely foreign to him. He has never seen a sky before, or grass blades, nor does he even have words for these things.

Before, his life was simple. He and his family slept in their nest by day and foraged by night. All of the mice followed the rules and no one dared venture beyond the kitchen. Fredle’s is curious, however, about what lies beyond and this is naturally what lands him there.

Outside is a terrifying and brilliant adventure. Fredle sees magnificent things he’d never imagined, like stars and a river; and he eats wonderful new foods. He also faces new dangers. Voigt captures equally well the thrills that drive wanderlust, and fears that ground the homebody.

From the minute he lands outside, Fredle’s quest is to return home but it’s complicated. He’s seen a bigger world; his feelings are mixed. His travels expose him to different ways that mice live. He brings ideas back, ideas that could improve his family’s life but no one listens. His family doesn’t seem the same to him, they seem fearful and stubborn, and they are equally suspicious of Fredle. He describes a world to them they find hard to believe.

The themes of Young Fredle are weighty – the difficulty of going home again, danger in knowledge, and self-awareness – but this is at heart the story of an affable mouse on an engaging adventure, and the lessons he learns are well told.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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