A young fox cub just wants to play with big brother Benny.
Benny builds a fort, makes a paper airplane and a sandwich, rides a bike, plays guitar, and more. His unnamed younger sib enthusiastically promotes the many ways in which they could enhance these activities—but, alas, to no avail. Benny’s answer is always a resounding, “No.” Benny seems to know the effect his rejections have on his sibling, signaling this awareness with a subtle, sly look of satisfaction. When the little cub withdraws from the action, Benny comes and tells the younger fox he is going out, fully expecting his sib to follow, which the cub does, only to face further rejection. Finally the cub decides to put on a puppet show alone, engaging in mimicry of those interactions. And the next time Benny invites the cub, it’s the younger child’s turn to say, “No, thanks.” Surprised, Benny brings a sandwich as a peace offering, and they play with the puppets together. Relating the tale in the first person by the younger fox in child-friendly dialogue and with delightfully imaginative imagery, Fagan treats the sibling relationship with humor and kindness, leading to a win-win outcome. Placed in a series of individual boxes, along with single- and double-page spreads, Denton’s softly hued ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations present a well-to-do fox burrow and a plethora of details that make each incident and emotion fully realized.
A lovely, gentle exercise in getting along. (Picture book. 3-7)