A small child, a fox, and the deep forest: not a grim tale at all but rather a magical journey culminating in an act of mutual kindness.
Front endpapers show a shelf with dolls, stuffed animals (including a stuffed fox), and books, including Adventures of a Small Fox and The Magical Unicorn, which foreshadow the story to come. The protagonist, a brown-skinned child with a black pageboy, brings the much-beloved fox to show and tell and then takes it out to the playground at recess. But when the child plays on the swings, a real fox takes the stuffed fox and runs off with it through the woods. Up to now the wordless panels have been tinged with blue; the live fox is a vivid orange. The child and a light-skinned friend with close-cropped hair and glasses follow, the pages becoming more varied in hue and highly saturated before bursting, Oz-like, with color when they reach the fairy-tale town where the fox lives. The little fox and the child exchange hugs and stuffed animals, the child returns home, and the endpapers now show a polka-dot unicorn in place of the stuffed fox. (Unfortunately, this unicorn, crucial to the arc of the wordless narrative, is mostly covered by the flyleaf.) The illustrations are rendered in pencil, watercolor, and ink, assembled and colored digitally. Young children will pore over this wordless picture book again and again, finding something new to enjoy each time.
A wordless picture book that makes a great read. (Picture book. 3-7)