Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin (review)
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Reviewed by
Graegin, Stephanie, illus. Little Fox in the Forest; illus. by Stephanie Graegin. Schwartz & Wade, 2017 [34p]
Library ed. ISBN 978-0-553-53790-1 $20.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-553-53789-5 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-553-53791-8 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R* 5-8 yrs

In this adorable wordless story, a little girl takes her beloved stuffed toy fox to school for Show and Tell, and a real fox snatches it out of her backpack on the playground and scampers off. Accompanied by a friend, the little girl goes in pursuit of the miscreant, and once in the forest the children ask the animals they meet if they’ve seen the girl’s toy (a drawing serves to ID the critter); meanwhile, the little fox runs on, happily dreaming of all the fun it will have with the toy. Fortunately, a helpful bear recalls seeing the two foxes and directs the kids to the fox family home; once [End Page 266] there, the girl negotiates a satisfactory resolution for everyone. The real treat here is the clever incremental reveal of the anthropomorphized animal world; the coolly monochromatic human milieu picks up a few flashes of color from the fox, a sentinel bird, and more elements in panel narrative until a page turn dramatically reveals the delectably cute and attractively colored animal village, with ivy-clad storefronts and peaked stone buildings, in a full-bleed spread. As a result, viewers can pick up skills in decoding visual narrative while also getting a chance to breathlessly root around in some serious cuteness. Toy lovers will struggle with a resolution that doesn’t see the girl taking home her beloved fox, but at least it’s a swap (the girl gets the little fox’s toy unicorn in exchange), and the magical animal kingdom will have viewers hopefully scrutinizing their local parks.

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