Saturday, February 8, 2020

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker 314 pages. Henry Holt (MacMillan), 2019. $17.

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (hunting, skinning animals).



Mia and Uly are fox kits, separated from their litters before they are really big enough to survive on their own, but strong and resilient and resourceful. Mia feared walking through a scary part of the woods so she and her mother walk around, with disastrous consequences, leaving Mia on her own in the clutches of a hunter. Uly was born with a withered paw - when his father finds out he is still alive, Uly's mother hides him in the woods, hoping he can fend for himself. In this collection of 6 connected stories - told to yet another litter of fox kits - we follow these two brave foxes on an adventure, sometimes together, sometimes apart - trying to survive monsters, hunters, their family, each other and the elements, but they are really just trying to get back home to their mothers.

I'm not usually one for scary stories - and yes, some of them are quite intense, not just peril but actual danger of being eaten, or worse - yes, there's worse! The book is so well designed - black with white text pages for the storyteller, white with black text for the story, and the illustrations - OH! beautifully Illustrated by Junyi Wu (charcoal?) the shadows, the depth, the expression - wow, I loved this so much! This is not your sweet little book about foxes, it is an amazing ride through the woods, full of love, and fear, and friendship, and villains, and terror and hope. No wonder it got a nod from the 2020 Newbery committee.

Lisa Librarian

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