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What is it about mice that makes stories about them so endearing? Somehow they are both underdogs and champions; both animal and human. Whatever it is, we all love mouse stories – The Mouse on the Motorcycle, Stuart Little, The Tale of Despereaux, etc. And for me, Cynthia Voight’s Young Fredle fit happily into that beloved category. Fredle has lived his whole life in the kitchen with his family, but his curiosity and wonder have kept him from ever truly fitting in. When a series of innocent mistakes lands him outside in the yard – a world he has never even dreamed of before – his only mission is to get back inside to the comfortable life that he knows. But as he learns more about the world outside of the kitchen, Fredle starts to wonder if safety and familiarity is really what he craves… or if he’s meant for that big wide world beyond the pantry door. What struck me the most about Fredle was his mindfulness. Each time he felt a feeling, he stopped to name it and experience it, instead of just letting it pass by. When he ate something new, he described each flavor, taking the time to savor and appreciate. What a great example for young readers who are learning how to categorize, understand, and handle their emotions. The fact that Fredle is MALE character doing this just adds to the loveliness – any male character that feels and reacts without shame is a slam dunk in my book. Honestly, whether you’re reading for the social emotional piece or you just like mice stories, it doesn’t really matter. Young Fredle is a pleasure to read, and you’re sure to enjoy it either way. #bookreview #kidlit #mgfiction #mindfulness #instabook