Children will bring to this story a knowledge of mice as familiar little creatures and a love for the magic of fantasy.
As a warm-up activity, ask students to recite “Hickory Dickory Dock” with you. Write the words on the board for students who don't know them. Then, using the diagram below, ask students what they know about mice. Possible answers include: run fast, have long, thin tails, have gray or white fur, and make squeaking noises. You might wish to expand this activity by asking, “Why do we like stories about mice?”
Tell students that the story they will read is about a friendship between a real mouse and a toy mouse, and that magic plays a part in the story.
Ask students how a real mouse is different from a toy mouse. Record their responses on a chart like the one below:
Possible answers include: Real Mouse—soft body, runs by itself; Toy Mouse—hard body, has to be wound up.
Distribute copies of the book, and call attention to the cover illustration. Tell students that the title of the book is Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Ask them to identify Alexander and the wind-up mouse in the illustration.
Ask students how the two mice are different and what they think the mice will do in the story. You may wish to model the process of making predictions about the story from the illustration. You may begin by saying, “When I look at the picture I see two mice. One looks like a toy mouse. I wonder if the other mouse is real or a toy? I wonder what these mice will do?” You may also wish to point out the picture of the Caldecott Honor Book Medal on the cover and explain that this award is given to outstanding picture books.