cover image Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

Wendy Watson. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10765-9

Watson's (Father Fox's Pennyrhymes) bustling, predominantly earth-toned paintings adroitly create a period feel for this folk song, first published in the 1810 edition of Gammer Gurton's Garland, about the nighttime escapades of a crafty fox. Pulling a coat over his red vest, Fox dutifully goes off to fetch dinner for his 10 hungry children, one of whom is shown wailing, holding her empty bowl. Bouncy cadences demand reading aloud: ``He ran 'til he came to a great big pen./ The ducks and geese were kept therein./ `One of you will grease my chin/ Before the moon goes down-o! Down-o! Down-o!'"" For singers, the score is provided at the end. Watson's timeless illustrations offer abundant particulars to pore over. Her audience will chuckle at the comic antics of Fox's energetic offspring, and they'll enjoy spying on the bunnies and mice that frolic on the tree branches Watson uses to frame her winning art. Ages 3-up. (Oct.)