A determined child attempts to find an elusive fox and learns that perseverance is rewarded.
Magruder’s debut picture book addresses readers directly as “you,” the digital pictures showing a black child with big, curly hair in a purple shirt and yellow shorts and shoes and sporting a yellow backpack, camera at the ready (more than one reader will be reminded of Dora the Explorer). The book accompanies the child as the narrator relates the sometimes tongue-in-cheek directions on how to find a fox: “Find a fox hole. Any fox hole will do. The best foxes are at home when you visit.” But this fox isn’t the cooperative type. In fact, it’s pretty crafty. Even when the child deploys the “fox bait,” aka chicken leg, it waits until the child moves on before snatching it. As the child continues the search, readers will be beside themselves, yelling that “it’s right there!” but the child doesn’t spy it until after climbing a tree, and even then, it gets away before the descent is accomplished. The child is discouraged but perseveres, because “Some days, a fox doesn’t want to be found. Some days, he wants to find YOU!” Magruder’s protagonist displays an emotional range that matches the beats of the quest, from excitement and determination to anger, boredom, and dismay, and young children will feel them in tandem.
Readers will want to put these instructions to use right away. (Picture book. 3-7)