Scary Stories for Young Foxes

Christian McKay Heidicker, illus. by Junyi Wu. Holt, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-18142-8
An ancient fox storyteller presents eight interwoven tales to seven intrepid fox kits in this inventive middle-grade debut by Heidicker (Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower). The kits’ eyes are opened to real-world trauma as they follow the harrowing journeys of Mia and Uly, two young foxes who encounter disease, humans, predators, hunger, separation, and loss. As each tale grows progressively darker, the kits must question their fearlessness and consider returning to the safety of their mother’s side. Heidicker ratchets up the tension as his protagonists encounter poisonous snakes, a rabies-like affliction called the yellow, an abusive fox father, author Beatrix Potter moonlighting as a taxidermist, light body horror, and more. Beguiling, intricate, black-and-white illustrations enrich the text, while the narrative framing device offers distance from the bleakness that Mia and Uly face. Heidicker presents but doesn’t fully develop themes of loss and anthropogenic change, and readers may gloss over them as they fly through the swiftly moving story. An entertaining read for those who enjoy spooky animal thrills. Ages 9–12. Agent: John M. Cusick, Folio Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 08/29/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-25044-5
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