As winter begins to set in, a curious fox wonders what he ought to do.
Winter is coming—a snowflake has just fallen on the nose of the “fine red fox”—and he wonders what he should do. With each page turn, he encounters a critter that gives him advice. A caterpillar tells him to wrap himself in a chrysalis and become a butterfly in the spring, but the fox replies that he was “not meant to fly.” The bat tells him to find a cave, hang by his toes, and go to sleep, but the fox says his “toes would get tired.” The squirrel tells him to “gather, gather, gather,” but the fox replies, “I don’t even like acorns.” In this cheerful way, readers follow the fox through his rambles while learning what different creatures do during the winter. Bauer’s free-verse narrative is sprightly and accomplished, with a playful touch and earnest humor. Jones’ full-page illustrations, done in rich, muted earth tones, are stunningly designed and executed—the hare is particularly effective—while the book’s illustrated endpapers amplify the story with satisfying detail. What the fox ultimately finds to do may surprise readers, but it is, like the rest of the book, based in fact.
An exemplary addition to the shelves of nature-themed picture books. (Picture book. 3-6)