This 10th in the translated Swedish series has farmer Pettson and his talking cat, Findus, trying to outfox a fox.
With plenty of chickens and firewood, the two of them are content on their farm—until cranky neighbor Gustavsson shows up, asking if they’ve seen a fox that’s stealing chickens. Pettson and Findus immediately plan a scheme to scare the fox away by making a fake chicken. A balloon filled with black pepper and covered with chicken feathers should do the trick. But is that enough? Firecrackers, a zip line, and a ghost (Findus in a sheet) embellish the plan. The folk-tale quality of the story lends it down-home flavor, and the banter between farmer and cat is a large part of the fun. But the real cleverness lies in the lively, intricately detailed illustrations: a tiny bathtub with five mice sits on the workbench next to a pencil holder that appears to be full of telephone poles, just one of many details that will have readers poring over this book for hours. Though the text is longer than usual for a picture book and part of a series, this story can easily stand alone and may well lead the readers to previous adventures of Pettson and Findus.
These two comic characters are sly as any fox—and endearing to boot. (Picture book. 4-7)