cover image The Hidden World of the Fox

The Hidden World of the Fox

Adele Brand. Morrow, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-296610-0

Mammal ecologist Brand offers a spirited look at the red fox in this smart and accessible volume. In the introduction, Brand traces a lifelong pursuit which has included writing about foxes in childhood diaries, studying them in college, and, more recently, fostering orphaned cubs and injured adults for the Fox Project charity. Early chapters focus on their distinctive appearance and hugely varied habitats. Noting that foxes can survive across the “full measure of the world’s diverse environments,” Brand recalls seeing them both in India’s Thar Desert, among “a scrubby thicket of what the local people call toothbrush bushes,” and in London, “on a patch of grass under one of Brixton’s tower blocks, half illuminated by streetlight.” Subsequent sections deal with foxes’ “paradoxical” interactions with each other—which reveal them as simultaneously “independent and interdependent”—and with other animals, including rabbits, rodents, and deer. Even a digression on 2014’s viral music video “What Does the Fox Say?” proves fruitful, with Brand discussing the full range of things which foxes do “say.” Thanks to this mix of biology, personal history, and pop culture, Brand’s readers will be left both entertained and better informed about “this small, curious member of the dog family.” (Oct.)