cover image Foxy!


Jessica Souhami. Frances Lincoln/Otter-Barry (PGW, dist.), $17.99 (28p) ISBN 978-1-84780-218-7

Souhami (The Sticky Doll Trap) has built her children’s book career on retelling traditional tales, and she credits her version of this story of a trickster fox to folklorist Clifton Johnson (though other variations have appeared worldwide). Working in painted paper collage, Souhami introduces the fire-engine red fox of the title, who catches a bee in the opening scene and places it in a sack. “He travelled and he travelled and he travelled until... he met a woman who had a fine rooster.” He asks the woman to watch after his sack, cautioning her not to look inside. Of course, the woman does just that, and after the rooster chases away the bee, Foxy claims the rooster as recompense. The pattern repeats, with Foxy trading up to gain a pig and then a small boy before he meets his match in a woman who turns the tables on him. The narrative repetition, bold shapes and colors of Souhami’s illustrations, and the fox’s well-deserved comeuppance make this a natural choice for read-aloud sessions. Ages 4–7. (May)