Visually captivating introduction to the red fox’s secret life.

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE RED FOX

This yearlong chronicle explores the physical attributes, habits, and habitat of the red fox.

While “her long, fluffy tail covers her body like a blanket,” Vixen, a red fox, is oblivious to the February snows. With her acute senses of smell and hearing, Vixen hunts in winter and forages plant foods the rest of the year. Because she prefers hunting at dawn and dusk, Vixen’s life remains secret. As spring approaches, Vixen and her mate “stay in touch,” marking their territory. After making a den in an abandoned burrow, Vixen gives birth to four kits, nurturing them for four weeks while her mate brings her food. After the kits emerge, they spend the summer learning to hunt and eventually depart to claim their own territories. Through the narrative about Vixen, Pringle thoughtfully explains how red foxes are canines, omnivores, and predators, including just enough specifics on hunting, mating, and parenting, with specialized vocabulary printed in italics in the narrative and defined in a glossary. Rendered in muted pastels and aqua crayons on sanded paper, the impressionistically fuzzy but otherwise realistic illustrations add depth, drama, and detail to the informative, entertaining text. Intimate scenes of Vixen alternate with panoramic vistas, capturing the essence of the red fox and her world. A “More About the Red Fox” section supplements the text.

Visually captivating introduction to the red fox’s secret life. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62979-260-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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