A not-too-tough fox in a henhouse comes away with more than he bargained for.
With his small stature and unimpressive growl, the Big Bad Fox doesn’t quite live up to his moniker. His attempt to accost a chicken from the nearby farm is foiled—humiliatingly—and consequently, most of the barnyard denizens see him as an annoyance, not an actual threat. Desperate, he joins forces with a wily gray wolf and steals three eggs that eventually hatch; the chicks believe that the fox is their mother. In an amusing turn of events, when the chicks discover the fox is not a chicken, they then believe themselves to also be foxes and change from docile to fierce. When the wolf comes to collect on their bargain, will the fox let his adorable and adoring brood be eaten? In a departure from the traditional sequential-storytelling form, Renner’s earth-toned line-and-wash illustrations have no panel boundaries. His economic scenes offer little in the way of background, relying instead on the characters and their antics to propel the action. This clever offering plays with identity in an appealing and humorous way: the fox isn’t ferocious, while the chickens are positively—and hilariously—bloodthirsty. Although this concept of role reversal may be well-trod, Renner handles it deftly, making the predictable feel satisfying.
A comically charming underfox tale. (Graphic fantasy. 7-11)