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Fox Paperback – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 500L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kane Miller Book Pub (September 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933605154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933605159
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 10.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wild (Nighty Night) departs from her playful characters of recent books for this haunting look at friendship and cruelty, geared to older readers. After Dog saves Magpie from a fire and nurses her burnt wing, the two forge a powerful bond. The one-eyed dog and the flightless bird travel together across a charred, leafless landscape, with Magpie feeling the wind in her feathers as she rides on Dog's back. "Fly, Dog, fly! I will be your missing eye, and you will be my wings." The mood changes quickly, however, when Fox enters his sleek, orange body curled around one side of a spread and sets Magpie on edge ("His smell seems to fill the cave a smell of rage and envy and loneliness"). The tension Wild invokes in juxtaposing their disparate emotions creates a disquieting feeling that Brooks (Rosie and Tortoise) mirrors in his artwork, especially in close-ups of the characters' eyes. His hand-lettered text (resembling a child's shaky penmanship) appears in oddly positioned blocks, with some flipped vertically against the page edges and gutter. The stark illustrations, in mixed media and collage, expose the characters' raw emotions with brusque hash marks in thick applications of mostly dark paint. Only when Fox cons Magpie into switching her allegiance and traveling with him do readers discover the depth of Fox's alienation. The tale ends on a tenuously hopeful note, and the images from this unsettling, provocative story will resonate long after the book has been closed. Ages 6-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up-The simplicity of presentation belies the sophistication of this allegorical tale that demonstrates the tremendous power of caring and friendship. Dog, blinded in one eye, finds Magpie, whose wing has been burned in a forest fire. He carries her to his cave, but she is distraught and bitter because she can no longer fly. Dog is a true and patient friend and an optimist, and his encouragement lifts the bird's spirits. ("I will be your missing eye, and you will be my wings," Magpie declares.) Enter dashing, flattering Fox, full of "rage and envy and loneliness," who attempts to destroy the friendship by luring Magpie away. In this short tale, Wild conveys some of the stages of human grief-anger, depression, and withdrawal and, finally, acceptance. Brooks's dramatic illustrations perfectly suit the text. Thick, textured paint in shades of brown, peachy beige, and bluish gray, detailed in black line and frequent scratchboardlike technique, sets off the rich, fiery tone of Fox's fur and allows readers to sense the excitement and danger that his presence engenders in Magpie. The text is hand lettered in large, childish print, sometimes on pasted paper scraps. Use the book with younger children to prompt discussions of both friendship and loss; use it with older students as a fine example of allegory and outstanding artistic presentation.

Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Story is extremely dark in an emotional sense.
Research Mommy
This book presents deep and complex issues that will not only confront our children, but also ourselves.
mto1
The words and illustrations are a powerful combination!
S. Barnes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Williams on July 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was first introduced to this book when my husband, an artist, brought it home from the library because he liked the stunning illustrations. When I read the book, I was floored. The archetypal imagery caused me to feel it in my whole body; I can certainly understand why it won the award. I know I would have loved this book as a child, as from a young age I was drawn to the darker aspects of life. Some children need to explore darkness. Exploring it helps them to understand how it works in their own lives. This is an amazing psychological treatment of wounding, betrayal, remorse, and finally redemption.

I'm a writer and writing teacher, and I've used this book with adults to teach them the power of archetypes. This is truly a book for all ages.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Cobcroft on September 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Fox" won the 2001 Children's Book Council of Australia award for best picture book, but it's certainly not a story for little children. Illustrated by Ron Brooks (who did "John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat" among many others), the pages are bathed in reds, oranges and blacks, and has the text written in a dark scrawl, sometimes at strange angles.
Set in the aftermath of a bushfire (forest fire), a one-eyed dog befriends a magpie bird who can no longer fly and gently nurses her back to emotional health. Magpie rides on Dog's back to simulate flying, and acts as a new eye for him. This happy state is endangered when a feral Fox comes and lives with them. Fox is also damaged, but only on the inside ; he is jealous of their great friendship (due to his own inability to love) and works to destroy it. From the ending, it is not clear if he failed.
"Fox" is probably best for 8/9 years and up, as the dark imagery and open ending can be could be upsetting for small children but it is an interesting and thought provoking book for older readers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Buzz Advert on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Fox" cannot be praised highly enough. Beautiful and poignant, anomalous and moving, it's my favorite children's book. The setting, characters, story are beautifully integrated and rendered. Every page is a visual stunner and the text is spot-on perfect.

One (negative) reviewer has suggested that it allegorizes an affair. Although I don't disagree that it can be read this way, few people and no children will read this as an affair. It's primarily about friendship, temptation, loneliness, desire, disability, jealousy, malice, symbiosis, etc. The physical writing, which a couple other reviewers criticize, is different from a typical children's book, but that matches every other aspect of this original work. If you require a clean font, you might not appreciate the book's handwritten text--but it's certainly not illiterate as another critic said. My four year old loves this book (though I'll admit I rate it higher than he does); at the end, he has said, "that's really sad." And it is. If you think children need happy endings or chirpy characters (mysterious, vindictive fox broods), that childhood should be all lollipops and Disneyland, skip this book. The ending isn't upbeat but it looks forward to some kind of potential redemption or reunion. In sum the book is a perfect union between writer and illustrator.

Interesting that the title of the book is "Fox" after the divisive interloper and antagonist and not Magpie after the main character. Again, this seems to be an uncompromising decision.

I also highly recommend the same author and illustrator's book "Old Pig." Even if you don't like "Fox," you should see "Old Pig." It's different and also quite unique and wonderful, beautifully treating death, but not in a dark way. Visually it's completely different as well--I can't believe it's the same illustrator.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mto1 on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A modern-day fairy tale set in the outback of Australia, Fox, by Margaret Wild, is a stunning and provocative piece of children's literature. It describes the lives of Dog and Magpie, who survive the aftermath of a horrible forest fire that leaves both animals injured. They band together in friendship to help each other survive, and they are met by the mysterious and haunting Fox.

Magpie's need for friendship is mitigated by her desire to fly again, but she does not trust Fox, who promises that riding on her back will be closer to flying than riding on Dog's back. After three appeals, Magpie gives in to her temptation, and Fox takes her on his back. Fox abandons her, and Magpie is left in the broiling desert to walk back home to Dog.

This book presents deep and complex issues that will not only confront our children, but also ourselves. I am moved every time I read this book, and the points of discussion that can arise out of this book are boundless. If we expect and believe that our children can think and talk big about deep issues, then this book is a must-have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Renee Thorpe on January 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Haunting tale of betrayal that is truly frightening and powerful enough to render adults speechless and even tearful.

Unlike many fairy tales, there is no happy ending. Indeed, that's the way life often deals out betrayals, but if you're looking for some fantastic escapism, this book won't do it. It is a bit like a fable from Aesop, but without the humor.

I agree with one of my fellow reviewers who states that this would be good for older children. Might be a good way to broach the topic of cruelty, but the kids who are sadistic bullies and need to learn a lesson probably don't have parents who'd have the sensitivity to get this book.

Rich, gorgeous drawings hold so much power that even the illustrator himself admitted to being taken aback when he leafed through a copy of the Chinese translation.
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