Leo Lionni has been a favourite author of mine since my class and I discovered his stories and art back when I was teaching elementary school. His stories nearly always include a moral or an important life lesson but they aren't preachy. I introduced his collection of Frederick's Fables to my daughters a couple of weeks ago and they can't seem to get enough of it.
One of the best stories in the book is Caldecott Honor Book, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (Random House Children's Books, Sept. 1974). It's an oldie but a goodie! But not that old...don't want to date myself!! Alexander is an ordinary mouse who encounters Willy, a toy mouse, mistaking him for real. He finds himself envying the other mouse who is a favourite toy of the children in the household. Alexander wishes he was special like Willy and that he was cared for. When Alexander is offered the chance to make a wish he initially decides he'd like to become a wind-up mouse like Willy. However, when Alexander finds Willy lying in a jumble of unwanted toys in a box to be thrown away Alexander makes a different choice. Instead, he wishes Willy would find another chance at happiness. Soon Alexander finds his wish has come true and the wind-up mouse has become his real, live friend.