A hungry, sneaky fox silently approaches a henhouse and gets the surprise of its life.
A farmyard serves as the setting for a counting book, with each number—one per double-page spread—depicting how a ruddy, crimson fox with a long, flowing tail closes in on its prey. “1 / One famished fox.” The fox curls on recto, pupils directed at the page turn. “2 / Two sly eyes.” The fox’s face dominates the verso, eyes focused on a single feather on recto. “3 / Three plump hens.” The fearsome action builds and darkens as the fox’s proximity increases until it is inside. “8 / Eight beady eyes” presents the shadowy outlines of three large hens with white worrying eyes looking at the fox’s head, also shadowed, with white menacing eyes and sharp fangs. “9 / Nine flying feathers // 10 / Ten sharp teeth” gives the impression of a fatal conclusion. But turn the page, and amid the scurry and scuffle of feathers flying and hens running, strength in numbers prevails. “100 / One hundred angry hens” startle and chase away “1…one frightened fox.” In a manner reminiscent of Pat Hutchins’ Rosie’s Walk (1967), the intrigue and story arc are communicated visually while the counting progresses. Lovely, potent, brightly colored illustrations in a combination of textured collage and paint against white space transition to a dark, moonlit backdrop. Little ones will eagerly count in subsequent readings as they also learn new descriptive vocabulary and cheer for the brave hens.
A classic scenario flips the script in this engrossing adventure. (Picture book. 3-5)