This sentimental, patterned animal tale from Europe, subtitled ""How the Little Fox Got a Mother,"" appears more naturalistic than it is. Children will be somewhat misled about animal behavior--even as their heartstrings are pulled and pulled. A vixen finds a little fox whose mother has been killed by a hunter. He whimpers; she hesitates, thinking of her own three kits, then feeds him. When his mother doesn't turn up, she resolves to take him home with her. (""She could not leave him all alone in the bushes. She had warmed him, and she had given him milk."") A hound pursues her, then loses her scent at a stream. A badger fights her for the kit, then gives up. (""Because she was fighting for her foundling fox, she was. . . stronger. She fought with her head and with her heart."") At the fox's den, her three kits accept the newcomer because he smells like their mother. And he is soon so much one of the litter that the fox mother can't even point him out to a snippy, critical neighbor (the book's one droll touch). With its traditional watercolor and pen-and-ink vignettes, its sing-song sentences and crisis-per-chapter: a mildly ingratiating small-size volume that might serve best as an easy reader.