Fantastic Mr. Fox
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2000
He's a chicken-stealing thief and a cellar-raiding rogue. He's also a loving husband and a caring father. He's even kind to rabbits. Oh, and he's a fox. What more could you want in a leading man?
Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" tells the story of how Mr. Fox and his family fend off an assault by farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Losing his tail to the farmers' bullets, Mr. Fox tries to wait out the farmers' vigil but Boggis, Bunce and Bean have other plans. They try to dig up the Fox family's den with steam shovels, forcing Fox and family ever farther underground. Derided by the townspeople for flattening a whole mountain just to catch a fox, the farmers decide to see who can last longer, them or Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox, on the other hand, comes up with a brilliant way out, better left to be related by Dahl himself. Like any well-written children's story, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is several notches above the average simplistic picture book but not so long that it can't be read in its entirety as a bedtime story. Since it's not dumbed down for young readers, it remains a favorite of adult readers as well.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2000
I recommend this book because it's funny. I liked the drawings by Roald Dahl because they are silly. Boggis, Bunce and Bean are three mean farmers trying to kill Mr. Fox because he keeps on taking their food. Mr. Fox out-smarts them by making them think he is one place when he is another. I especially liked when Mr. Fox and his friends had a feast because no one can hurt them, and I can't believe that the farmers are still waiting for Mr. Fox to come out. (They are probably skeletons and bones by now!) For anybody who didn't read this book, I think you should read it.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2001
There seems to have been a major shift in children's literature recently, thanks, of course, to the pre-eminence of Harry Potter. The latter is a hero parents can be proud of - bespectacled, middle-class, studious: the subtext is education is fun, enlightening and empowering.
The major children's writer before JK Rowling was Roald Dahl, who boasted few of these virtues, offering children cruel wit, and a morbid, often murderous mistrust of parents, adults, education and authority in general. He also implied that children could be malevolent and destructive. Parents hated him - I had to discover Dahl through friends; my mum bought me Enid Blyton. There was always the thrilling feeling that you were doing something illicit or conspiratorial reading Roald Dahl.
The hero of 'Fantastic Mr Fox' is a thief, a violater of property and business, and a murderer and torturer of animals, traits unlikely to endear him to the English middle classes. On the other hand, he rejoices in family values, still endearingly in love with his wife, and a great father. Under impossible odds, he tries to save his family and a host of other animals from the cruelty of three vile farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, who are sick of the varmint's nocturnal sorties for their produce.
First they try to shoot him, but only pepper his tail (a deliciously gruesome episode). Next they dig into his tunnel, but he can dig faster. They use huge mechanical diggers, turning a hill into a valley. They try to starve him, surrounding the area with weapon-wielding minions.
The story of 'Fox' is very simple with few twists and turns. The impact, however, can be traumatic, and not just for young children - I read this to my wife (as you do), and we both got very anxious for our heroes, faced with the terrifying industrial might of the farmers. The irony of the story is ecological - while trying to save a few goods for business, the farmers nearly destroy the countryside and an entire animal network; the fox can only do what is natural, which is steal and kill (to which Dahl is faithful with admirable unsentimentality). The image of the three farmers waiting, possibly forever, at the hole for the fox to starve, is chilling and close to Beckett.
Once again, Dahl gets a great deal of pleasure in frightening his young audience, and his way with alliterative insults is as delightful as ever, while Quentin Blake's scribbles, though not part of the original book, are now so synonymous with Dahl's world, it's impossible to imagine it without them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2004
This book has been my favorite ever since the first time that I read it. It tells the story of a fox who has to go out and get food from three farms that are nearby in order to feed his family, but there are three farmers, named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, who don't like the fact that Mr. Fox is stealing from them and they band together to kill him. He then has to find ways to avoid the farmers and save his family at the same time. The book keeps little children hanging on every word and has an excellent ending that they'll love. The excitement makes it a great book to read to little brothers, sisters, or kids. I read it to my sister and she wouldn't let me stop till I had finished the entire book.
Roald Dahl makes some of the greatest children's books that are very imaginative and help develop a child's imagination. I would recommend that on top of this one, get some of Roald Dahl's other books.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2004
In Roald Dahl's chapter book, Fantastic Mr. Fox, he tells a traditional story in which Fantastic Mr. Fox outsmarts three halfwit farmers. Like most foxes, Fantastic Mr. Fox is sharp and cunning. He lives near three farms that belong to very unpleasant farmers. The farmers are described as having nasty personalities, horrible eating habits, and disgusting features. Each night, Mr. Fox steals food from the farmers to feed his own family. The farmers are furious and band together to find Mr. Fox and 'string him up by his tail.' They find his hole and wait for him to come out so they can shoot him.

When Mr. Fox refuses to surrender, the angry men try to dig him out with shovels and then with farm equipment and bulldozers. Eventually, they take all the workers from their farms and scatter them over the hill in order to stand guard so that the foxes cannot escape. As the farmers wait, the Fox family is slowly starving. Mr. Fox gets a brilliant idea and soon he and all of the underground animals find a way to pull the biggest trick of all on the three nasty farmers. They get food for their families off of the farmers' own ignorance and the farmers continue to miserably wait for Mr. Fox to emerge from his hole.

This book is a classic example of Dahl's writing style. The adults are always mean and rotten, while the children and animals are smart and good. This book raises a number of questions that could make for a very interesting discussion. Mr. Fox feeds his family by stealing food from the farmers. Does that makes stealing ok just because the men he stole from were mean? The Badger brings up this important issue and Mr. Fox sweet talks himself out of trouble, but should stealing ever be considered ok?

This book has a good plot and inspires creativity and problem solving skills. The characters have strong personalities and are involved in hopeless yet humorous predicaments. Kids will laugh at the farmers' misfortunes, enjoy the unusual underground setting and cheer on Mr. Fox and his fantastic schemes. I love the way Roald Dahl gives his characters such unusual qualities. This book was an entertaining and enjoyable read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2000
I love Roald Dahl's books but my favorite so far is Fantastic Mr. Fox. My favorite part is when Mr. Fox gets away from the farmers and digs his way smack dab in the middle of their storehouses. I also liked it when everyone ate a big feast at the end. By Sarah Amelia
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fantastic book. It is very funny. Boggis, Bunce, and Bean cannot catch Mr. Fox. Even though the farmers block his hole, he still gets away. I hope I can read it again. Everyone should. Mr. Fox and his family get all the food and the last laugh. They are so clever! By Ian
The part of Fantastic Mr. Fox that I liked best was when the littlest fox was so thoughtful and got carrots for the rabbits because they don't eat meat. I loved this book. You will, too. By Skie
I liked the story of Fantastic Mr. Fox because it was funny and neat. The animal characters were clever and cool. Roald Dahl was a great writer. If you like animals, this book is for you. By Ryan
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a wonderful book. I think everyone should read it. I think the little fox is so considerate because he wants to bring home carrots for the rabbits. I will read it again and again. The animals act just like people and have great personalities. By Abigail
I loved this book and thought it was great when the foxes were stealing all the food and the farmers didn't even know. I also thought it was funny when the farmer was picking his nose and crust was coming out of his ears. The language was terrific. It's got to be nasty to eat goose liver in donuts. By Donny
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl is a fantastic story. It's perfect reading for grades 3-5. I think Mr. Fox is clever the way he fools the farmers. Bunce is disgusting because of what he eats. Read it and see for yourself. By Robert
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2006
This is one of those backyard gardens tales, featuring the ever so clever and resourceful Mr. Fox who frequently outsmarted three most unpleasant farmers, namely Boggis, Bunce and Bean, each time he went up to their farms to get his family dinner everyday. The farmes did whatever he coud so they could catch Mr. Fox but everytime they failed.

One day, they ended up fed up with their failures on catching Mr Fox, so they tried to get him at their entrance hole to the Foxes den. Their plan wa sto shoot and kill as Mr. Fox shows himself, but the plan changed to digging him up. In result, they trapped Mr. Fox and his family and other "diggers" starve by the farmers action. Mr Fox could only make this up to his family and the rest of his friends by digging his way out of trouble. While he digs out his brilliant plan, the thre farmers just sits patiently at the gates.

Once again, an awesome story for kids, not quite a morally uplifting book but it's an awesome book I enjoyed reading and I be placing this in the list of books I would be reading to my future kids for them to enjoy this gem. Got to love the front cover. Interesting characters and great plots for kids to actually enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
First of all, try to get the 1978 Bantam Books edition with nice, quaint line drawing illustrations by Donald Chaffin (ISBN 978-0553150360) rather than the newer editions with Quentin Blake's sketchy skewed drawings. Donald Chaffin's illustrations match the look and feel of the new classy film with George Clooney. Amazon is selling used copies, and I obtained one in nearly perfect condition for like $6.

I love this book. It was an undiscovered gem to me, a longtime Roald Dahl fan! If you liked the movie, you'll like this book. It's shorter than some of his other books - it took me an evening to finish, and reading it to the kids would take one or two nights. It's classier, cleverer, and funnier than some of the others. Highly recommended. My kids love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 1999
When I went to see the movie You've Got Mail with my husband, I was surprised and delighted to see the number of references made to the works of Roald Dahl (including Fantastic Mr. Fox prominently displayed in the Fox bookstore). Dahl is not as well known an author as he should be. Most people know his James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a few know about The BFG, but Dahl deserves better. This is the author to move kids on to when they graduate from Dr. Suess. His books are imaginative and full of adventure, but beyond that, Dahl has a way of using language that is, to use one of his favorite words, fantastic. A gem, a treasure, a must-read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2002
Roald Dahl is a master of words and his books are veritable treasure troves of rich vocabulary for children of all ages. While writing a unit on this book, I was challenged myself to find the contextual definitions of some of his words. "Cleverest" is one word, I think he probably invented (wouldn't it be "most clever"?), which can be found in these pages. Whether you're looking for a good book for a literature focus unit, a fascinating read-aloud for your students, or just a good read for your child (or yourself!), this book will be a hit!
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