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, and he wishes he could be a wind-up mouse too. In this gentle fable about a real mouse and a mechanical mouse, Leo Lionni explores the magic of friendship.
Make It Move!
People and animals use their own energy to move from place to place. Objects such as toys rely on other energy sources to make them move. Bring in examples of movable toys that operate on energy provided by winding mechanisms, batteries, electricity, and so on. With your supervision, let children use the toys and explore different ways to generate motion.
Graph Wind-Up Races
Let children wind up and watch them go! Place tape on the floor to mark a racetrack in 6-inch increments. Hold races to find out which wind-up toys travel farthest. Log the results on a graph.
Write a Wind-Up Story
Divide the class into small groups. Display a selection of wind-up toys, and ask each group to choose one. Ask them to hold and operate the toy and then write a fiction story about it, telling of an adventure or other experience it might have had. Be sure children illustrate their stories as well!
Let children recreate the swirling patterns of color used by Leo Lionni in some of this book's illustrations. Cover a work surface with newspaper. Fill a disposable foil baking pan halfway with very hot water and let children sprinkle crayon shavings over the surface. The heat of the water will melt the crayon. Swirl with a toothpick, then lay a piece of paper on top of the water, gently tapping the paper to cover the entire surface. Lift the paper by the edges and place on paper towels to dry.