When human encroachment eliminates a young fox’s forest habitat, it searches to find a new home.
The lone fox narrates in the first person, beginning the story with recollections of how its family had lived together in their forest, hunting and playing. During its young life, encroachment has depleted the forest, leaving it fragmented. Alone, the fox wanders through housing developments, along viaducts, and past vacant lots. Each place reminds the fox of a particular family member: at the concrete viaduct, it recalls playing with a sister in what used to be a stream. When it reaches the wide freeway, the fox remembers when its father discovered a deer that had been trapped and realizes it is trapped now, too. The fox wanders until it comes upon construction workers who have built a highway wildlife tunnel for safe passage under dangerous roads. Without being maudlin, author Thompson’s words give a gentle, reflective tone to the story that addresses not only habitat reduction, but also the difficult problem of animals and vehicles. Illustrator Thompson’s luminous artwork adds empathy to the text and offers hope not only for the fox, but also for many wild creatures; a sign indicating the site of a future wildlife preserve will ease many young listeners’ anxiety.
Informative and empathetic. (Picture book. 4-7)