Two ungendered fox siblings—or perhaps friends—have all sorts of places to be.
“Hurry up! We have places to be,” calls a brown fox to a smaller, blue fox. A hill to speed down on a bike is a place “to be loud”; a worm-filled patch of earth is a place “to be muddy.” There’s a place “to be beastly”—a seesaw the brown fox holds down at one end, singing (barely visible musical notes hover), forcing the blue fox to struggle to mount the seesaw’s high side. The next place, naturally, is a place “to be mad.” Observant readers will see scene connections that the text never mentions, such as the cause and effect of “places to be careful”—they walk, riveted by their cellphones, near an uncovered manhole—and “places to be bored,” which shows the brown fox’s leg in traction. The fate of the brown fox’s skateboard is also undiscussed in the text: the board breaks early on at the skate park, and that arc finds late satisfaction. These subtle threads create continuity inside an otherwise episodic, poetic piece. The brown fox and the blue fox are close—the blue fox even seems more “jubilant” to see the brown fox approaching than to see fireworks, though the ice cream that the brown fox carries may also be relevant. Low-saturation colors make for a peaceful vibe, while Liwska’s brush-and-ink crosshatchings render the foxes’ fur constantly windblown, adding bustle and energy.
Funny and gentle. (Picture book. 4-8)