The premise: Fredle is a kitchen mouse, learning the art of sleeping all day and foraging for food scraps at night. He enjoys his family and knows the importance of keeping safe--and keeping the family safe. But one night he and an adventurous cousin can't resist a treat covered in dark brown lusciousness and filled with gooey white goodness. They eat it and love it, but soon it makes them very, very sick. And since mice families don't tolerate sick, weak, or old mice, they are pushed out into the middle of the kitchen during the day. This is what happens to sick, weak, or old mice--they get went. And no mouse has ever returned after being went.
What keeps readers reading: Fredle's adventure. Fredle makes it out of the kitchen--alive! (Sorry, bit of a spoiler there but it does say it on the inside of the jacket cover too). He gets outside, and it's a foreign land. Although he's scared, he's also entranced. Lights twinkle in the night sky, water droplets hang on green stalks, and flowers bloom. Predators abound outside too--barn cats, owls, snakes, and raccoons--but Fredle finds friends in unlikely places, friends who understand that he longs for home.
What I adored most about Young Fredle is the way Cynthia Voigt masterfully weaves messages throughout her story. The adventure and talking animals will appeal to younger, developed readers as well as older ones because the plot moves and grows, but this is also a story of discovery. And as young Fredle discovers, so does the reader.
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