Thursday, November 25, 2021

Review - A New Home for Fox

A New Home for Fox

by Ellen DeLange
illustrated by Agnes Ofner
Date: 2021
Publisher: Clavis
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A great book about prejudice and being open to new neighbors, friends, and experiences. It's also a conversation starter about the immigrant and refugee experience. For brave little readers ages 5 years and up.

After fleeing his home, Fox arrives in a new forest. Tired and looking for a friend, Fox knocks on the first door he sees. Will Fox make a new friend?

(synopsis from NetGalley; see it on Goodreads)

I enjoy picture books about foxes, but this one kind of missed the mark for me. It's supposed to show the refugee experience, but it feels a little forced, and children who don't see the parallels might wonder why Fox doesn't just go home after the danger has passed.

One day, while Fox is sleeping, some nasty dogs get into his den, flush him out, and chase him out of his familiar forest. As he tries to talk to other animals, he's met with prejudice and shunning. But then a big boar comes along and chases the other animals. Fox tricks it into falling off a cliff, and the other animals celebrate Fox as a hero. He decides to stay and build a new life for himself.

Because Fox mentioned his old friends, I found it a little unrealistic that he'd just settle in the new forest without a second thought. Why can't he go back to his old den? The dogs are probably long gone, and Fox has a whole life there. That part was kind of weak for me.

I'm also not a fan of the writing. Aside from the continual comma splicing, there's a bit too much internal monologuing from Fox, which seems like a heavy-handed way to show what the story's all about (finding new friends in a new place). I don't think a lot of that was necessary.

I will say, though, that I enjoyed the illustrations. Fox's anthropomorphized den at the beginning is adorable, and the limited colour palette works nicely. I do wish that the climactic moment with the boar had been a little better executed (we go from Fox hearing the commotion to the boar falling off the cliff, completely skipping Fox's heroic moment where he leads the animals and devises his trick); the narrative explains it, but I would've liked to see it illustrated.

Overall, this isn't the best picture book I've read, either about foxes or about the refugee experience. It's not bad, but it has a few issues that would make me hesitant to wholeheartedly recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Clavis for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment