cover image Little Fox in the Forest

Little Fox in the Forest

Stephanie Graegin. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-53789-5

When a girl sets her treasured stuffed fox down in a playground and a real fox snatches it up, she witnesses the act but can’t catch the thief. Accompanied by a school friend, the girl ventures into the woods, asking the animals they meet if they’ve seen the fox. Graegin’s (The Lost Gift) story is wordless, but her panels are so clear that readers can easily supply dialogue of their own. When at last the children find the fox, they understand the crime (and the criminal) in a new light, and Graegin ends on a note of tenderness. The story’s delights are many, but a special draw is the secret world the girl and boy discover. Their reality is painted in shades of dull blue-gray, but as they press on, small splashes of color hint at what’s to come. A hedgerow doorway delivers them into a world of brilliantly colored stores and houses: it’s the forest animals’ own private realm, drawn in careful detail. This is a story not just to read but to inhabit. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)