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Review of Little Fox in the Forest

Little Fox in the Forest
by Stephanie Graegin; illus. by the author
Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.
2/17    978-0-553-53789-5    $17.99    g
Library ed.  978-0-553-53790-1    $20.99
e-book ed.  978-0-553-53791-8    $10.99

In this imaginative story, a girl brings a beloved stuffed fox to school for show-and-tell. When she sets it under the playground swing set, a fox (resembling the toy) jumps out from behind the bushes and grabs it. A bespectacled classmate joins the girl in her pursuit of the fox through a shadowy wood. The children explore the forest together, encountering new creatures and seeking information along the way. They discover a lively woodland metropolis, with tree houses and creature-run businesses, and are led to the home of the young thief, where they orchestrate a trade. The story is told in comics format using rectangular panels and pencil, watercolor, ink, and digital illustrations. Starting with a limited, blue-hued palette and evolving to include vibrant, full-color spreads, it is mostly wordless, with bits of atmospheric text, including writings on buildings and the classroom chalkboard. In the last few panels, the children return to their (monochromatic) neighborhood, and the final scene reveals both girl and fox snuggling with their new comfort items. Endpapers featuring the girl’s bookshelf — full of nature books and toys that reference parts of the children’s journey — invite viewers to ponder whether the whimsical events were true magic or only a dream.

From the March/April 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library in Illinois.

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