cover image Little Fox

Little Fox

Edward van de Vendel, trans. from the Dutch by David Colmer, illus. by Marije Tolman. Levine Querido, $18.99 (88p) ISBN 978-1-64614-007-7

This meandering story-within-a-story by Dutch writer van de Vendel (The Little Dog That Nino Didn’t Have) begins as Little Fox roams through scrubby beach dunes. He chases two butterflies (“because they’re purple”), plunges off a rise, and lies still, apparently stunned. The kit’s whole life passes before him; in a captivating interlude, he recalls his infancy, his discovery of the world, and the joy of playing with his siblings. “In the dream, daddy fox tells Little Fox not to be so curious. Daddy says, ‘Too nosy is dead nosy.’ ” Sure enough, nosiness gets Little Fox into trouble, and a child helps him extricate his head from a glass bottle. Back in the present, the fox has a strange experience: he “sees himself lying there. That’s funny.” The child from the dream appears, carrying Little Fox and trailed by other creatures in what looks like a funeral procession. At the last minute, though, Little Fox revives. Winsome drawings by Tolman (What Dog Knows), of Little Fox and his companions, are placed against austere photographs of dunes and woods. Van de Vendel and Tolman’s tale is, on its face, an engaging vulpine autobiography; deeper down, it’s a journey to the border between life and death. Ages 4–8. [em](Aug.) [/em]