Fox and friends play an imaginative game of pretend.
While reading a book about tigers, Fox (Fox and the Bike Ride, 2017, etc.) wishes they were Tiger. “Tigers are big. / Tigers are fast. / Tigers are sneaky. // Tigers are the best,” Fox reads. Paintbrush in hand, they paint their fur with stripes to transform into Tiger. Then, on a prowl, Tiger comes upon Turtle. Turtle initially mistakes Tiger for Fox before they are corrected. The exchange sparks an idea in Turtle, who disappears and comes back as Race Car: “I zip and zoom.” Rabbit, a bystander, also gains inspiration. They disappear, return wearing a cardboard box, and reveal that they are now Robot: “I beep bop boop.” The trio plays until a sudden rain washes away their disguises. But all is not lost: A passer-by, Squirrel, exclaims that Fox (as Fox) is “the best,” no stripes needed. Using fewer than 60 words, Tabor creates a wonderful arc that includes an open ending (Squirrel paints themselves orange in the wordless final spread). The digitally rendered cartoon illustrations—originally created with pencil, watercolor, and crayon—are energetic and expressive. The overarching message of self-love is a good one, but the no-fuss acceptance of changing identities in text and dialogue (even if they are just pretend) is even better.
Feel-good, make-believe fun. (Early reader. 3-6)