cover image Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop

Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop

Amy Lowry. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2400-9

Lowry (The Pea Blossom) combines four fables into one seamless story about a pesky fox and his animal acquaintances. Mr. Fox starts the day with an empty fridge and a hankering for grapes. Try as he might, he cannot reach a dangling cluster, so he proclaims the grapes sour and cons a crow out of her cheese instead. After this victory, "the fox was so busy congratulating himself" that he falls into a well. To escape, he tricks a thirsty goat into serving as his stepladder, chuckling at its misfortune. Fed up with Mr. Fox's unkindness, the goat and crow "seek revenge" and meet a stork who has her own beef with the trickster. Lowry draws homespun gouache-and-pencil pictures on expansive white backgrounds. Her graceful illustrations introduce the humanlike animal characters without overpowering the foundational fables, and amiable details%E2%80%94like a portrait at the stork's house of her with an infant%E2%80%94supply mild humor. An unassuming author's note provides concise morals to the stories and pictures the stork, crow, and goat sharing a grin about Mr. Fox. Everyone emerges unscathed but wiser in this easygoing retelling. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Feb.)