From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—Born on a spring day, a baby fox is taught the necessary survival skills by his patient parents. The kit is eager to explore the world on his own and asks from time to time, "Am I ready?" "No, fox, no," is the reply. In the fall, a more competent creature doesn't ask, but states, "Now I'm ready," and his mother responds, "Go, fox, go." The lyrical text reads easily, and one slightly changed sentence is repeated throughout: in the spring, "And the rain comes and goes"; at night, "And the stars come and go"; and in the fall, "And the days come and go." Rich, saturated colors fill the spreads with the seasons' deep hues as they depict the young animal's progress toward independence. Van Gogh-like sweeps of color indicate tall grasses, while splotches of paint deftly reveal the changing hues of leaves and sky. The endpapers show a silvery landscape bathed in moonlight. This picture book is a tender tribute to family.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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As in The Great Blue House
(2005), Banks and Hallensleben offer another atmospheric picture book that celebrates seasonal change. In an earthen den, a baby fox is born. The shifting seasons mark the fox's growth: in spring, the little fox wonders when he can go outside; in summer, while hunting with his parents, he wonders when he can roam on his own. Finally, in fall, the little fox has learned to care for himself, and his parents send him off with sweet encouragement. Banks' spare, sensory words include some sophisticated imagery ("burnished leaves"; a "bloated" sun) that will be a reach for some preschoolers. With lulling rhythms and poetic phrases, Banks reinforces the deeply reassuring tone: trees "sigh like a lullaby setting the world at ease" and "silence grows into a peaceable hum." Illustrated with Hallensleben's rich, thickly brushed scenes of the nurturing fox family exploring fields and woods, Banks' gentle story sends a message that independence, whether for a fox or a child, is as natural and inevitable as the turning of the seasons. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved