Proceed with GREAT CAUTION before reading to children Jun 2, 2008
I was so intrigued by the illustrations and reviews of this book that I checked it out from the library and began exploring it. I was immediately struck by the text which is scrawled in a Neil Gaimann manner setting an edgy tone. The illustrations were equally stark and disturbing. The story was reminiscent of Clive Barker's work in the author's complete dedication to the darkest, most hellish aspects of humanity. The rage and pain the author put into her story is that which no child should have to share or bear. My daughter, who is seven and the age of the author's target audience, reviewed a bit of the book with me. She is a gifted storyteller and loves books of all kinds. She loves ghost stories and is always, always up for a spooky tale. Fox, however, upset her greatly. She spoke clearly about her feelings and explained that the book made her both sad and frightened. She demanded to know why an author would ever think such material is appropriate for children, or for anyone. Reader, be cautioned when thinking about the term "dark" in reference to this story. The darkness is not that of a Southern ghost story or an Irish banshee or faery tale that springs from the unconscious, shadow side. The darkness in Fox is of the kind from which the most terrifying horror movies are birthed - the kind that make your soul crawl. I gave the book a three because it is brilliant in originality and illustration, both of which are married perfectly to create an exacting impact. I will never forget this book - the author has been successful in this regard.
A Masterpiece May 1, 2008
"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.
Text format and features taught with flair! Dec 27, 2007
The author uses a very creative text format. The students love turning the book to read the words. The font truly looks like their writing and is very realistic to them. The color scheme in the book (I won't give it away) was very interesting. I didn't think that they would be able to infer what the red color symbolized, but I was wrong. The story was a little disturbing (my students love happy endings) but they were really excited to try writing a story that used this text format.
stunning and masterful Jul 8, 2007
this book is amazing. i don't generally read children's books either, but a friend at a bookstore showed it to me. i was drawn to the illustrations and the font. so i sat down to read it. i almost cried in a bookstore. it may be presented as a children's book, but it's not for little kids. i had to go back and read it again and again to absorb everything that was being presented. this book is both profound and beautifully sad. don't be fooled by its appearance, and read it as an adult. highly highly recommended
Buy this book today! Jan 15, 2007
Whether you buy it for a child you have, a child you know, or the child you are, it makes no difference. This poignant and captivating book speaks on timeless issues of love and longing, loyalty and betrayal, regret and redemption. We've all been there or will be there, and this book tells 'our story'. And the artwork is spectacular! The one book in my old children's book business that could sell itself. A great gift for any friend.