A friend lent me The Tale of Despereaux the other day. People have been trying to get me to read this for ages, but I never have (probably because people have been trying to get me to read it! Silly stubborn Joi...)
Anyhow, I just started it, I'm only about 20 pages in, and it is delightful! I can't wait for my lunch break when I get to read more. It reminds me, in these first pages, a little of Frederick, by Leo Lionni. Frederick is a little mouse who doesn't gather corn or wheat or any food for the winter. The other mice make fun of him when he says he is storing up colors, or stories, or sounds.
When winter comes, the mice are happy and well-fed for a while. But as winter drags on, the food stores are running low, everyone is tired and grumpy, and there is no sun. So Frederick begins to tell stories, and talk about the warm light of the sun, and everyone realizes the importance of his work. I loved the Frederick book when I was a kid, and identified very heavily with the odd little mouse.