Outfoxing the Fox

Friederike Rave, Author . North-South $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-2295-5

The titular fox in Rave's (Anna's Wish ) latest is continually frustrated by the hens he hopes to dine on. In every spread, viewers see a hen using paint brushes, rollers, and even a roll of paper to blanket Rave's pastoral scenery in white. It's a whimsical, unexpected touch, even if its meaning is opaque (the hen almost seems to be toying with readers—perhaps even with Rave herself). The fox doesn't depend on guile to catch the hens; instead, he asks them flat out. “I'd like a nice chicken fricassee for dinner,” he says, dropping by the henhouse. “I thought maybe you could help me out.” The hens, wearing scarves and mufflers and coughing delicately, promise to let the fox know the minute they're over the cold they've come down with. Readers will wait for what sounds like a promising bang at the end of this fuse, but it never comes. The fox turns hypochondriac and steals a sandwich from a hunter, and the chickens head for the beach. It's a shame, because Rave's paintings are delicious morsels; wittily drafted, and generously scattered with comic asides. Ages 3–up. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
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