Every now and then a picture book comes along that ticks all the boxes for storyline entertainment, short word count, gorgeous illustrations and playful ending. One Fox by Kate Read embraces all these elements in a very clever counting book drama.
Beginning with one famished fox who has two sly eyes, we count on to three plump chickens and the inevitable chase that has gone on between these two adversaries for centuries. What makes this picture book remarkable is that the story becomes suspenseful with so few words and is complete by the time you count from one to ten! The illustrations match and enhance the text and, by the end, we are almost sure that the fox will have his way with those plump and now very frantic chickens. But there is a surprise after we see fox’s 10 sharp teeth. I won’t spoil the very satisfying ending, because you will just have to read it….and then you will close the book with a smile.
I can highly recommend this book for children 2-4 years and below are more suggestions for picture books that feature foxes and all the mischief they get themselves into:
We all make assumptions. About many things. It could be about a person or a place or even what a particular food might taste like because of its colour. We might make assumptions about someone’s behaviour or even an animal’s behaviour. We could assume that most cats like to chase mice, most dogs like to chase cats, and probably most foxes like to eat chickens and sometimes even rabbits. Sometimes we don’t even know what our assumptions are until they are challenged.
In this picture book we meet a young rabbit who assumes that he is the only one in the litter and he loves it that way. There is no need to share anything. He can have his own flower patch, his own stack of juicy carrots, his own private bedroom. Until one day he is joined by one sibling, and another and another and even another, and more again. Lost are all the privileges of being the only one.
Enter the fox next door who has declared his love of having rabbits for company.
And what do we assume? I think we assume the worst.
So, when the young rabbit asks the fox very kindly to take care of all those extra rabbits, we all take in a sharp breath. We think we know what is going to happen.
Yes, the young rabbit gets back his own flower patch, his own stack of juicy carrots and his own cosy bedroom, but the assumption he made about how he would feel when that happened was not what he thought. He misses his siblings and wants to be where they have gone.
So, into the fox’s den the young rabbit happily hops….and what do you assume will happen once he is inside?
Well, I can’t tell you…you will just have to read it yourself!
But remember, never assume because you may be wrong, but you could be right!
I can highly recommend this book for children 4-8 years old, the illustrations cleverly aid the storyline and build tension to the very last page.
If you would like to read more books about foxes and rabbits, not necessarily in the same story and the list is not exhaustive (never assume!), here are some of my favourites: