Fox and Chick return in this follow-up to The Party: And Other Stories (2018).
Echoing the poignant if occasionally antagonistic friendships of such odd couples as Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad and Tad Hills’ Duck and Goose, Ruzzier has again accomplished the task of telling three funny, meaningful stories using markedly simple vocabulary that occurs almost entirely as dialogue between the two characters in speech bubbles. The temperamental differences between even-tempered, organized Fox and anxiety-prone, excitable Chick play out in both word and image. Appealing, whimsical pen-and-ink illustrations are softly washed with color and are featured throughout in panel layouts of various sizes, some stretching to fill the page, in the style of a scaled-down graphic novel. When, in the final tale, Chick spoils Fox’s plans to catch the sunrise by holding up their departure in puzzling out what supplies will be needed (“Should I take my hammer?” asks Chick), Fox’s expression is a marvel of bewilderment, and readers may fear Chick has pushed it too far. In the end, though, the pair enjoy whiling the day away together and catch the sunset instead, bringing the gentle message of learning to live with, and even appreciate, one another’s quirks full circle.
A fine addition to the series, this can be enjoyed without having read the earlier installment and will be appreciated by new readers. (Early reader. 4-7)