DUNE FOX by Marilynne Roach


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Fox ran along the dunes,"" begins Roach, and throughout she uses the unin-dividualized fox as a focus for her real subject, the dune ecology as it exists through changing seasons. (An appended note places these dunes on Cape Cod.) At times the fox is dragged into the picture a bit artificially (""A band of deer moved nervously among the hollows. Fox watched the large animals from his ridge""); at other times he interacts with different creatures by catching and eating them (insects, term' eggs, a rabbit) or taking their prey (he steals a fish from a crow and gull who are fighting over it). Examples of the local flora are also noted, and are labeled on the pleasant, even elegant, blue- and sand-colored pictures. On many pages, several small insets depict characteristic bugs, flowers, birds, etc., and there is even a marginal geology lesson early on, in four small circular drawings illustrating how wind, glaciers, pebbles, and silt, and ""ceaseless waves"" ground early mountains into sand. If the fox contributes a unifying presence to the scene, he adds no vitality to the text. However, for the receptive youngster who is open to a science lesson in the form of a semi-poetic mood piece, Roach's recreation of the scene--especially in her pictures--achieves an effective blend of precision and grace.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1977
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown