CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK, DAY 2
Giveaway: The Wild Fox: A True Story by Cherie Mason
Today’s giveaway is from Down East Books and Kid Lit Reviews. The winner will receive the new hardback publication of this award-winning story. Enter using the Rafflecopter link at end of the review. Entries close Saturday at midnight. Winner announced on Sunday. Now for the review of Wild Fox: A True Story.
by Cherie Mason
Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen, illustrator
Down East Books
Book Jacket: When an injured fox (crippled by a steel leghold trap) hobbled into Cherie Mason’s yard one morning, it was the start of a special and unusual relationship. The young fox had every reason to fears humans, yet was won over by Cherie’s persistent gentleness—and the tidbits from her kitchen. For half a year he was a regular visitor and became something of a celebrity in the small Maine community. Yet he always remained a wild fox. He hunted his own food and interacted with other foxes. This is Cherie Mason’s poignant story of how she befriended a wild creature, knowing that his instincts would soon lead him away forever. Suffused with gentle wonder, Wild Fox speaks to the deep human longing to span the gulf between species.
First Sentence: Have you ever touched the nose of a wild red fox?
One summer morning, Cherie found a red fox calmly sitting in her strawberry patch, eating berries as if he owned the plants. Six months later the fox returned, trying to get at some suet put out for woodpeckers. His right front foot cut to the bone, hanging limply, was useless and prone to infection. Compassionately, Cherie threw the fox a chicken leg she had defrosted for her family’s dinner. Soon, the fox would wait under the woodpecker’s suet for Cherie’s treats, never allowing her to get too close. Cherie named him Vicky, short for Vixen.
The red fox became accustomed to Cherie’s yard, often lying in the driveway or under a spruce tree napping. The small town came out to see the red fox, a celebrity in the small Maine town. Vicky eventually chewed off his injured foot allowing it to heal without an infection. The fox became so accustomed to Cherie that he would follow her—at a distance. Cherie and Vicky had a special relationship, on the fox’s terms. He never abandoned his hunting skills while dining on chicken and other fancy foods. Now grown, Vicky was on his own, ready to have his own family in his own territory. He moved on.
Wild Fox: A True Story is an unusual tale of the animal-human bond we humans treasure. This wondrous, yet injured, animal moved Cherie, who looked forward to his visits. I liked that Cherie was smart and contacted a biologist friend who gave her advice about the red fox. Number one was leaving the fox alone, do not approach him, and do not touch him. Cherie understood, but cautiously disobeyed her friend’s advice. The red fox made sure there was a safe distance between the two, though it seems he became as fond of Cherie as she was of him.
Ms. Mason is a journalist and a wildlife advocate who lives on Deer Island in Maine. Deer Island is also the home to many red foxes, mostly unseen. This one unusual wild red fox choose the perfect yard to enter. Was this by luck or providence? Cherie’s actions toward the fox were cautious yet excited. I like that in addition to her story of the injured wild fox, the author added in information about this beautiful creature.
The illustrations, in soft pastels, add a sense of wonder and awe to the story. For children not yet reading, the illustrations will draw them in. When first published in 1993, Wild Fox was a Caldecott Medal nominee and won the Lupine Award. This new edition, by the small publisher Down East Books, is smaller for tiny hands with strong, thick, glossy paper that is resistant to accidental tears. Parents will not be resistant to multiple bedtime readings. The book is the size of a short story, making it an easy and fast read. The story is written in a conversational style that I think will appeal to children.
Ms. Mason leaves the reader with a warning not to do as she has done: “Even more important, you harm wild animals when you teach them to trust humans. Enjoy them from a distance. And if you ever encounter an injured wild creature, don’t approach it and certainly don’t try to TOUCH it.” This is sage advice from a compassionate wildlife advocate should be stressed to young children. Kids and adults will enjoy this true story of the small red fox. The publisher lists the book for age five and up, but I believe even younger children will enjoy the story and the illustrations, which bring the narrative to life.
Want to own this copy of Wild Fox: A True story? You can by entering the giveaway. The entry link is here: a Rafflecopter giveaway. Entries accepted until midnight Saturday, with the winner announced on Sunday. Multiple entries are allowed.
by Cherie Mason Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen, illustrator website Down East Books website Released May 16, 2013 (Reprint Edition) ISBN: 978-1-60893-212-243 Pages Ages 5 and up . © 2013 Down East Books Text: Copyright © 1993 by Cherie Mason Illustrations: Copyright © 1993 by Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen
- Children’s Book Week Giveaways: May 13 to 19 (kid-lit-reviews.com)
- review – The Chronicle of Egg, Book 1: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey (kid-lit-reviews.com)