Adorable photos of baby foxes that fill the double-page spreads make this one hard to resist, even though it is a little light.
Holland presents the first part of the red fox’s life cycle with the story of Ferdinand, one fox kit she photographed throughout his first summer. Short, bland paragraphs of information describe how the five fox kits grow and learn, their mother nursing and grooming them and, when they are ready, bringing back food for them to eat. Ferdinand and his siblings explore the world with their senses, putting new things in their mouths to taste and feel. They point their ears toward sounds and explore their incredible sense of smell. The kits practice pouncing on prey by jumping on each other and play fight to learn defenses. By the end of the summer, Ferdinand is putting all these things to use to find his own food, and next spring, his own kits will be learning the same lessons. The consistent placement of text over the photographs in a san serif type is a particularly graceless design choice. Two pages in the “For Creative Minds” section in the backmatter list some fox facts and adaptations (repeating much that was in the text), while another two contain activities.
Young animal lovers will be sure to check this out, even if they don’t return to it for repeat readings. (Nonfiction. 4-7)