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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
This book won the Caldecott Medal as the best illustrated children's story of 1971. The vivid colors will brighten your day! The story itself is a retelling of an Armenian folk tale.
The book is exceptional for the fable, the moral it tells, and the dynamic illustrations that turn the fox's frustration into an adventure for the reader.
"One fine day
a fox traveled through a great forest.
When he reached the other side he was very thirsty."
"He saw a pail of milk that an old woman had set down
while she gathered wood for her fire."
"Before she noticed the fox, he had lapped up most of the milk."
"The woman became so angry that she grabbed her knife and
chopped off his tail . . . ."
Thus, the story begins.
The fox begs for the old woman to sew his tail back on. Otherwise, "all my friends will laugh at me."
"'Give me back my milk,' she said, 'and I'll give you back your tail.'"
The fox finds a cow who is willing to help, but wants grass in return. The fox asks a field for some grass, and the field asks for some water. The fox goes to the stream, which tells him to get a jug for the water. From there, the fox finds a fair maiden who has a jug, but wants a blue bead. The fox finds a peddler who has a blue bead, but wants an egg. An hen offers an egg in exchange for some grain. The fox finds a miller who has grain.
"The miller was a good man and felt sorry for the fox."
With the grain given to him by the miller, the fox proceeds to do all of his barters.
In the end, the old woman "carefully sewed his tail in place, and off he ran to join his friends . . . ."
As you can see, the language is simple so you will find this book helpful in assisting your child to learn to read around ages 4-6. The illustrations carefully match the words, which will help remind your child which words are on the page.
The book is valuable for introducing a number of important themes. For example, if you do something wrong, people will be angry. They may even punish you in some way.
Further, most people want something in exchange even if they are willing to help.
Beyond that, even those who want to help may not be able to (the stream could not transport the water it would give freely).
Most importantly, without the kindness of a stranger (the miller) the fox would have been out of luck . . . even with all of his efforts.
After you finish the story, I suggest that you also ask your child what lessons are here. Children are famous for spotting unintended ones as well as fundamental truths that adults easily overlook. Have a great discussion!
Seek balance in all that you do, especially when you redress an imbalance . . . whether caused by you or others! Don't forget to play the role of the miller!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2000
In this story, the fox has his tail cut off by a woman who is angry because the fox drank her milk. The fox asks for his tail back and the woman says only if the fox returns her milk. Herein lies the tale. The fox embarks on a journey taking him to the cow who will give him milk only if he is fed, which leads the fox to a field who will give up his grass only if he receives water, which leads the fox to the ....and the tale goes on and on. The fox does eventually get his tail back. My 3 year old son is perplexed by this story and his listens with rapt attention. It is a good bedtime story because the story builds on itself and the phrases are repeated again and again and again. This book also won a Caldecott Medal for illustration. Recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Most kids of "picture book age" are attracted to cumulative tales like THE OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY or THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT because of the repetitive patterns and the easy logic to the simple plots. ONE FINE DAY is another great example of a cumulative tale. The basic story involves a talking fox who drinks an old woman's milk. In a rather violent move that doesn't seem to bother most kids the woman bloodlessly cuts off the fox's tail and refuses to "sew it back on" until the fox gives her back the milk. The now tail free but still resilant fox goes through the forest and tries to barter some milk from a cow who will give him milk if he gives her grass, a field that will yield grass if the fox will give it water, a stream that will give water if the fox brings a jug and so on. Our fox hero is finally triumphant and brings the replacement milk to the old woman who true to her word "carefully sews his tail in place" and all ends happily as the fox "ran to join his friends on the other side of the forest."

The illustrations are appropriate and well convey the setting which appears to be Eastern Europe in a past century. Kids seem to like the reassuring ending to the fox's problem as well as the classic repetition of the folk tale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2014
I look for good books to read to our grandchild's kindergarten class and was not impressed with this one. My problem with it is the fact that the fox's tail was cut off as the result of a bad deed by the fox. Now I am not a person who thinks that children should never be allowed to play with toy guns or ever be exposed to painful situations, and I realize that the gist of the story is how the fox can right the wrong he did in the first part of the book. But for me, I don't like the violence of the act.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
This book is FUN to read out loud, very fast. Very fast.

Simple and cute illustrations get the job done. The story line starts with a theft, then proceeds to a dismemberment, and relies on pleading and - finally - charity to resolve the problem.

We very much prefer a similar story called "The Scarecrow's Hat" by Ken Brown -- get what you want without whining or complaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2015
Beautiful art work but the story involves a woman cutting a fox's tail off with a knife. It is a little violent. Idk maybe my kid won't be freaked out by it.....but probably he will be.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2004
The abovementioned reviewer of One Fine Day has missed several fine points Nonny Hogrogrian's book possess. The books repetition of themes and jaunts of the fox are the charming and educational elements that captivate an early reader or storyteller.

The illustrations are not a modern version of Patricia Polacco. If the reviewer were familiar with the ethnic similarities of Hogrogrian's characters to Polacco's, wide and unique differences exist. Hogrogrian's characters are classic to her numerous illustrations in other books. She uses her Armenian background to give character and emotion to her drawings.

The story is a familiar one and a fable used by other writers. Hogrogrian's touch through her unique illustrations make it a winner.

The above mentioned reviewer concludes his review by stating, for a Caldecott winner, Hogrogrian's book is "small and unassuming". I would have to disagree and encourage the reviewer to not bypass the less flashy and "fab" words that exist in so many books today.

How fortunate for children everywhere, that the Caldecott Award panel chose to not overlook the quiet beauty and unique character illustrations in selecting this classic book a winner.
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on September 14, 2004
An old woman chops off a fox's tale after he greedily laps up her milk. In this cumulative folk tale, the sheepish, tail-less fox must barter with man and beast to obtain milk to repay the old woman to get his tail back. The illustrations beautifully capture the penitent and forlorn character of the fox throughout his journey. The gentle hills of the eastern European countryside spread across the pages, evoking quiet rural life. This book won the Caldecott in 1972.

As a folk tale that never reveals its setting, this book really doesn't address its apparent Armenian cultural origins. The only clue as to its cultural origin is the costume of the characters: the old woman's babushka, the peddler's fez, and the miller's apron. For children, and perhaps others, this may simply read as "old-fashioned." Comparing and contrasting this with other folk tales - particularly other cumulative folk tales - from other cultures might bring these subtle cultural aspects into sharper focus for children.
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on May 17, 2005
One fine day a fox ran through the woods on the other side he was thirsty. The fox saw a bucket of milk. There was some milk left but not much. An old lady getting wood saw him, and she cut off his tail. The lady yelled at the fox. The fox said, "Please give back my tail." The lady said, "Give me my milk!" The fox began to sob. He went to a cow. I'll give you milk for some grass. The fox went to the field. The field said give me water. He went to the stream for water and the stream said get me a jug. He found a girl. The girl said get me a bed and you can have my jug. He found a bed seller; he wanted an egg. He found a hen; the hen wanted some grain. He found and a sales man. He and gave the fox some grain and he got the milk. Was the lady still there? I recommend this book to all
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on April 30, 2013
I loved this book when I was little. The pictures tell the story; I would remember the words as I looked through the book on my own. I remember being so emotional that the old woman cut off his tail! And the relief that he gets it back finally in the end! Now that I'm older it seems to be a story about doing work to earn what you have. Everything comes from something; nothing is free. And it only took the kindness of one man to set the fox on the path to accomplish his goal. We never know how many people are affected by one generous action. I still love this book!
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