Ooko, a fox looking for a friend, finds one—and also makes some self-discoveries along the way.
In the initial double-page spread—backgrounded by bright foliage and a quaint village—a friendly-looking, stylized, furry, orange creature introduces itself: “I am Ooko. I am a fox.” Ooko then introduces readers to its natural playthings, including a stick, and admits that the one missing element is “a friend to play with.” Children will enjoy the absurd humor of text and artwork as the fox, in its search for a friend, lifts up a moose to look underneath and sighs, “Not here either.” The humor continues as the fox imagines that domesticated dogs are foxes and that, because one dog is being led about by a girl of color named Debbie, all humans are called “Debbies.” The story gets funnier and funnier as Ooko tries to emulate dogs and earn a Debbie for a friend. When an adult, white Debbie with temporary vision problems mistakes Ooko for her dog, Ooko is shocked to discover the discomforts of domesticity. The droll illustrations of the fox grimacing through a bath, a collar, a dog jacket, and a walk on a leash end with rescue by a new friend from the wild. The book’s final words cement the fact that neither Ooko nor the new friend has been assigned a gender.
Playful, joyous, and hip. (Picture book. 3-7)