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Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt

Young Fredle

by Cynthia Voigt

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Fredle is a kitchen mouse. He lives in the nest behind the wall with his extended family, and together they forage in the kitchen and pantry for food every night. The mice live by rules and routines, and any mouse too old or too sick to forage is pushed out of the nest. Fredle expects to live his entire life in the nest, and so he would have, had it not been for an unfortunate encounter with a peppermint patty. The candy is the best thing Fredle has ever tasted, but the chocolate makes him sick -- not sick enough to die, but sick enough that the other mice push him out of the nest onto the pantry floor, where the lady of the house discovers him. Too tenderhearted to just put the cat in to deal with him, she puts Fredle outside -- and thus begins an adventure with field mice and raccoons, snakes and hawks, dogs and chickens, as Fredle tries to get back inside to his home and family. The journey is an eye-opening one for Fredle as he learns about different ways of living and discovers that some of the things he has always been taught are not true at all. Will Fredle find a way home again . . . or will he choose to make a new home for himself?

In reading (or rather, listening to) this story, I was struck by how Fredle's voyage resembles Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey in many ways. Though he doesn't precisely choose to leave the nest, Fredle does choose to follow the enticing scent of the candy that causes his eventual expulsion, and from there he does meet helpers and face challenges as he attempts to return home. The writing in the story is fairly strong, and Fredle's character, with its defining trait of curiosity, is well-developed. Many of the secondary characters are also strong and interesting in their own right. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Wendy Carter, who does a very nice job of voicing the wide variety of characters Fredle meets.

I'm always bemused at the number of juvenile chapter books that feature mice, but this is a worthy addition to their ranks, one that I will recommend to fans of Beverly Cleary's Ralph and Avi's Poppy. ( )
  foggidawn | Dec 12, 2013 |
Listened to Listening Library audio edition narrated by Wendy Carter.

Carter's narration was excellent - different voices for each of the characters and good capturing of the emotions in any given situation. The story had me captivated throughout - the secret world of mice and the ways different tribes live were well thought out and interesting. Fredle was a believable well-rounded character with faults, weaknesses and strengths that rang true and influenced the sequence of events believably.

Grabbed a copy of the book to take a look at Louise Yates' spot illustrations. They're cute and add a little to the story, but I don't feel like I missed anything by listening instead of reading. The placement of the illustrations seemed carefully chosen and I particularly liked the illustration of the snake. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
Fredle is a kitchen mouse - all his life he has lived behind the pantry with his family, following the mouse rules. One day, Fredle is sick and is pushed out of his nest...instead of being "went" like he expected, he is carried out of the house by Mrs. Now he must figure out how to survive outside, where the outside mice live by very different rules than he had inside. On his adventure back home, Fredle outwits a cat, befriends one of the dogs, meets numerous mice and escapes from a band of raccoons. Unfortunately when Fredle returns home, he finds it different than when he left...or maybe it is him that has changed.

Good coming of age story, but too much mouse for me...it seemed flat. ( )
  agrudzien | Jan 4, 2013 |
Young Fredle (rhymes with “metal”) is a sweet story with ink drawings throughout about a naïve little house mouse who is sent outside (in the yard) when he falls ill from overindulging on sweets. Extensive characterization with poignant child-like themes throughout makes this a great read for boys and girls alike. I wanted to see how Fredle survives in the “wilderness,” and it was fun meeting the animals and learning along with Fredle in his adventures outside. (Recommended!) ( )
  KHusser | May 23, 2012 |
When Fredle eats too much chocolate (very bad for a mouse), he finds himself pushed out of the safety of the kitchen wall by his family, because one of the rules they live by is that when you’re sick, you must leave to “went,” never to be heard from again. Fredle finds himself outside, and very alone – at first. As he encounters different animals on the farm, he begins to determine for himself what is true and what should be questioned. He discovers the world is much larger than he ever could have imagined, falls in love with the moon and flowers, and realizes many of the rules his family of kitchen mice live by don’t make a lot of sense. When Fredle finally finds the way back inside and to his family, he must decide what’s truly important to him.
Reminds me of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Listened to audiobook - slow moving
  KimReadingLog | May 13, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375864571, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: Award-winning author Cynthia Voigt's brave little mouse, Fredle, embarks on a remarkable journey of self discovery after he is pushed out of the house and must go it alone in the great outdoors. Fredle's whole world is new and its strangeness is both terrifying and thrilling. With courage and the help of some field mice, Fredle quickly learns that he is capable of adapting to his new circumstances and relishes the beauty of the stars, the taste of water from a blade of grass, and his freedom. When Fredle makes his way back into the house, he has learned to see opportunity instead of challenges and realizes he has his own definition of home.--Seira Wilson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fredle, a young mouse cast out of his home, faces dangers and predators outside, makes some important discoveries and allies, and learns the meaning of freedom as he struggles to return home.

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